Grassroots football under threat?

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THE Jersey Football Association could be forced to cut its grassroots services if ‘overinflated’ travel costs are not tackled.

Chief executive David Kennedy admits loss of sponsorship and rising prices are ‘putting a strain’ on the governing body’s finances, which have taken an unexpected hit this month to save the Muratti semi-final.

Jersey’s men’s squad is having to travel via Guernsey to play in Alderney on 25 March – at an approximate cost of £400 per person [see front page] – and Kennedy believes Muratti rules should now be reviewed to help safeguard the competition’s future.

‘The majority of sports would agree that there is a real desire to play against our counterparts in Guernsey and Alderney but it is becoming more and more difficult,’ he said.

‘We are a charity and trying to get sponsorship has become extremely difficult for all sports. We have lost significant sponsorship in the last couple of years because of Covid and at the same time we’re trying to deliver all of our services. It is putting a strain on the finances and it won’t be long before I have to make some really hard decisions about what we can and can’t deliver in the future.’

Discussing potential routes forward for the Muratti, Kennedy added: ‘There are a couple of options that I believe we need to propose: one of which is Alderney taking their turn of playing the semi-final in Jersey. The second would be to play the semi-final in Guernsey, because it would work out cheaper for us. Our travel bill for this year is way beyond the forecast expenditure that we agreed at the beginning of this season.

‘We could go on a four-year cycle and Alderney would travel for every second semi-final.’

Muratti fixtures were occasionally played on neutral turf in the early 1900s, including the 1920 final between Alderney and Guernsey at Westmount. The Ridunians won that contest 1-0 – still to this day their only victory in the competition.

From 1905-1975 semi-finals alternated between Jersey and Guernsey, and Alderney then made it a three-way rotation until 1995. They have staged every semi-final since then.

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