The Jamaican government has denied a request from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to have fully vaccinated fans in the stands at the National Stadium to watch the Reggae Boyz.
Jamaica will play their next game at home on Sunday, October 10th against Canada. The Reggae Boyz currently sit at the bottom of the eight-team table of the FIFA World Cup qualifiers.
Minister of Local Government Desmond McKenzie said the need to maintain close management of COVID-19 means that fans cannot be allowed to gather at the stadium.
“The Government cannot facilitate large gatherings for any purpose at this time as we are still managing the public health crisis imposed by the pandemic,” McKenzie said in a statement.
“Additionally, the public is reminded that under the current Disaster Risk Management Order, Sunday is a no-movement day,” he continued.
He noted that the protocols announced in May which permitted the resumption of club football under defined conditions remain in place.
“I am a football fan and I fully understand why there would be calls for spectators to be present to cheer the Reggae Boyz on but this cannot be allowed now,” said McKenzie.
He said the Government is managing the resumption of sport in a phased, orderly manner consistent with the reduction in the country’s positivity rate.
The National Stadium’s capacity is 35,000. The JFF had requested that 14,000 fully vaccinated fans be allowed at the venue.
Head coach for the Reggae Boyz, Theodore Whitmore, said he is disappointed wit the government’s decision.
“It’s always good to have your home support. If you look in the USA, they are playing at the full-capacity stadiums, so in some ways, we are disappointed that we won’t have our home support,” said Whitmore on Nationwide Radio.
Since the start of the pandemic, the sporting activities that have been allowed to resume have had to do so without spectators. Horseracing is currently the only sporting activity where fans are allowed in Jamaica.