THE future of Jersey’s oldest football competition is in doubt, with discussions within days as to whether to scrap it next season.
The Trinity Shield was first contested in 1895, but its popularity has declined in recent years and the 2023 edition featured just three teams.
St Saviour ultimately took the prize home with a 6-1 win over St Ouen at Springfield last Thursday, but St John were the only other parish to enter.
The competition is open only to those who were born or attended school in the Island and, in theory, sees all the parishes except St Helier battle it out for the trophy.
Jonathan Le Fondre, football services manager at the JFA, admitted that the future of the 128-year-old contest was uncertain.
‘That is certainly one of the options on the table,’ he said when asked whether the Trinity Shield could be axed.
‘We really need to talk through where we go from here. It is our oldest competition and no one wants to see it go because of all the history that goes with it.
‘Equally, parishes are not wanting to enter teams and there is no point continuing if it is not going to be worthwhile. We don’t want to be running competitions that are not meaningful – that is not a good use of the Association’s or our club members’ time.
‘We have had quite a lot of consultation around this but I think what I would be keen to see is that we have one final consultation where we would need to see some significant commitment from the parishes or we would reluctantly have to retire the trophy,’ Le Fondre added.
One possible option to try to improve participation levels could be to remove the requirement that all players in the Trinity Shield must be Jersey-born.
Le Fondre said: ‘We are going to look at what is in the best interests of that competition but also the players and participants.
‘Ideally we would be looking to have at least ten teams – eight as a minimum. Football is a sport that needs to evolve with the times and we need to make sure our competitions meet the current needs of our clubs.
‘The Association will consider if one final consultation is required but unless there is significant support then the possibility of retiring it would have to be on the table.’