The local contingent of the Jamaica national football team was forced to hastily depart the island on Tuesday, hastily scrapping a camp that was to be held at the UWI/JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre over the next few weeks.

According to a release, the issue was caused by the fact the Austrian Embassy, in Washington, would not accept digital applications.  As such all players and officials who wished to secure the relevant documentation for the trip were required to be present at the embassy by 9:00 am on Wednesday, March 17.

Originally, the 14-man all locally-based players were to take part in the camp at the academy before departing for Austria this weekend to meet up with the rest of the squad, which consists of overseas-based players.  The JFF expressed disappointment with the unexpected turn of events.

“The JFF was indeed disappointed that an environment that would have allowed our players to once again begin to practice their craft could not be fully utilised at this time,” the organisation said via its release.

“The Federation sincerely thanks the Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, as well as officers at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their extraordinary support in establishing protocols and procedures for the camp. We remain very grateful for the work done and the cooperative spirit that has developed on both sides,” it added.

“These protocols will still be utilised going forward as the national team prepares for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and the World Cup Qualifiers.”

The match against the USA is scheduled for the Stadion Wiener Neustadt, in Austria, next Thursday.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and national players have reportedly moved close to securing a deal after protracted and acrimonious negotiations.

According to reports, the latest counter-offer from the representatives of the players is a lot closer to what the JFF had initially offered and is now being considered by the body.  The parties are scheduled to meet to discuss the latest offer in short order. 

Initially, the parties had been miles apart on wage demands with the group of national players demanding US$7,000 ($1,039,068) per match, for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the JFF insisting that based on expenditure it was unable to go above US$2000 ($296,876).  However, according to JFF committee chairman Rudolph Speid the latest submission is much closer to what the JFF can afford.

“The players actually made a late submission to us yesterday.  They’re our players, we are not enemies, so we want to have a peaceful resolution," Speid told Television Jamaica.

“Of course, we are still determined that we have a plan that we have to stick to, but we are willing to listen to the players and we are going to be meeting with them again,” he added.

“They have come down substantially.  We are closer now than we have ever been before.”

Although Speid did not go into specifics, the new wage demand from the players is reported to be US$3000 ($445,315) and a US$2000 ($296,876) win bonus for the World Cup qualifiers.  However, a major sticking point is likely to be the team's demand for half of the US$8m ($1,187,507,200), prize money provided to the JFF by FIFA for qualifying for the tournament.  The amount the players would receive in that scenario would be US$4m ($593,753,600).

Jamaica Reggae Boyz shot-stopper, Andre Blake, believes a lot more can be done by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to secure the funding necessary to meet or at least go close to the wage demands of the national players.

With the time running out for the deadline to sign contractual obligations, the parties remain far apart in terms of wage demands put forward.  The Reggae Boyz have asked for US$7000 ($1,050,895) per player, per match for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers.  The JFF has insisted that, due to financial constraints, US$ US$2000 ($300,256) is the highest that they are able to offer.

“I think that there can be a lot more marketing done to get sponsors on board and there are a lot more ways that funds can come in to compensate the players,” Blake told the SportsMax Zone.

“I think that there’s a lot more that can be done.  I don’t think there’s enough being done.  It’s almost like I am asking someone to come and work for me and that person must figure out how they are going to get paid or how I am going to pay them.  Our job is to come and play not to worry about how we are going to get paid.  The JFF has a job and they must do their job," he added.

With a 22-man squad, the players’ current demands could see the federation spend US$2,156,000 ($323,675,752) on wages for the 14-match World Cup qualification round.

 

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss Michael Ricketts has called on the country’s national players to be ‘reasonable’ and ‘balanced’ in their demands, given what the organisation has laid out as severe financial limitations.

With one day left before the deadline to sign contracts for the upcoming campaigns, the JFF and representatives of some national players remain far apart on wage demands.  The JFF has submitted a final offer of US$2,000 (300,255.80) per match, per player for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, the players have, however, requested US$7,000 ($1,050,895.30).

According to Ricketts, however, the offer made by the JFF is grounded in the reality of what the federation can afford and as a result, is unlikely to be adjusted.

“We are still waiting and hoping for an amicable settlement.  I do hope that the players will be reasonable and balanced in whatever they decide to do.  I hope that they will agree to something that is manageable,” Ricketts told TVJ Sports.

“The committee has been having talks in recent times with the lawyer who represents some of the players.  How many of the players he legitimately and legally represents we are not sure but we want to ensure that we do have a relationship with our players,” he added.

The JFF president, however, warned that some players run the risk of being left out of the program if no agreement can be reached in time.

“I want to say that if a player insists that he is not signing for what we can afford to pay, then we are not going to hold anything against that player or particular players but the show has to go on, and if there are players willing to play and some who are not willing to play then we will have to go with those who are willing to play,” Ricketts said.

A letter released on behalf of Jamaica’s national football players has described recent information circulating in the media, regarding specifics of ongoing negotiations with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), as ‘inaccurate’ but were unable to set the record straight due to contractual obligations.

The details of the report caused bulging eyeballs, with claims the national team’s representatives had requested a few eye-watering sums for the upcoming campaigns.  Among the standout details was a US$7000 ($1,053,791.20) per player, per match request, in addition to a US$1,000 (150,541.60) win bonus, for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. 

With an assumed squad of 22 players, at that rate, excluding the bonus, the JFF could be forced to fork out US$154,000 ($23,183,406) per match for the 14 match qualifiers.  In total, the bill would amount to US$2,156,000 ($324,567,689) for the period and that would be the wage bill, exclusive of other expenses like travel and accommodation.  If the reports are accurate, the parties remain miles apart as the JFF has insisted the most it can offer is US$2000 ($301,083) per match.

In addition, the information released claimed the players have requested US$5,000 ($752,708), for an international friendly, which includes a US$1,000 dollar win bonus.  For the CONCACAF Nations League, that amount would fall to US$3,000 ($451,624.80).

According to the release issued by the players’ attorney, negotiations remained ongoing and it was premature to offer details on the issue.

“The players have indicated that it would be premature to make comments on an ongoing negotiation of such national importance,” the release read.

 “The players, upon request by the JFF through their attorney, were asked to keep details of the current negotiations confidential. The players are therefore exercising this responsibility and will not dishonour that request.

The players consider qualification to the World Cup and maintaining Jamaica's top 50 rankings as an important responsibility and remain committed to an amicable resolution with the JFF.

 They look forward to continuing meaningful discussions with the JFF around a number of outstanding issues, including, but not limited to, match remuneration.”

 

 

An excited Michail Antonio has begun the process of applying for his Jamaican passport and is eager to represent the country of his parents’ birth, Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts told Sportsmax.TV this morning.

 The Reggae Boyz are set to face the United States in Austria in an international friendly on March 25, as the team ramps up preparations for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the World Cup qualifiers later in the year.

JFF President Michael Ricketts made the announcement during a virtual press conference earlier today.

Due to the current conditions related to the global pandemic, the match will be conducted under the UEFA Return to Play Protocol and will be played without fans at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Wiener Neustadt.

Ricketts said the JFF will be attempting to have a camp leading up to the match in Australia. They are to apply to the government for an exemption to the ongoing Covid-19 protocols. If not, they will try to leave for Austria on March 20, so the team will be able to spend a few days preparing in that country.

The meeting between the two teams will be the first since they clashed in the semi-finals of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Nashville, Tennessee on July 3, 2019. The USA won that encounter 3-1 courtesy of two goals from Christian Pulisic and another from Weston McKennie.

Shamar Nicholson netted for Jamaica.

Jamaica had won a previous encounter 1-0 when the teams met in a friendly on June 5, 2019, in Washington D.C.

Since 1988, the teams have met 26 times with the USA holding a 16-3-8 overall record.

Jamaica’s World Cup campaign is set to be bolstered by the addition of West Ham striker Michail Antonio, who reports say, is to accept an invitation from the Jamaica Football Federation to represent the Reggae Boyz.

The ill-advised decision of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to stage an impromptu and unapproved national camp, and the resulting positive Covid-19 cases, has played a part in delaying the sport’s resumption.

Earlier this month, the JFF landed in hot water after convening a national camp at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence without the requisite government approval.  The camp was shut down but not before at least six players and one official tested positive for COVID-19.

In a meeting on Friday, between sports minister Olivia Grange, the JFF, and representatives of the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), meant to chart the way forward, the minister expressed her disappointment with the incident.  She also pointed out that any approval for the sport’s restart must include strict adherence to health protocols.

“I was very disappointed with the breach which has led to the delay of the restart of football but I am hoping that with this meeting, in which I spoke frankly and we came to a clear understanding, going forward, there will be no misunderstanding. This is a very serious matter, in light of the community spread of COVID-19, and all our actions have consequences,” Grange said.

“Therefore, no one can take unilateral decisions to commence training or competition because the action of any person or organisation can directly impact the players and the country in general. I know these are difficult times, so let us work together to overcome the challenges,” she added.

In response, both President of the JFF Michael Ricketts and PFJL Chairman, Christopher Williams, committed to both organisations following protocol and expressed eagerness for the return of local football.

With the exception of the national camp, organised football has not been played on the island since last March when the leagues and national programs were shut down in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) has vowed to keep a watchful eye on its parent body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) after pointing out that it had ‘misgivings’ with its management of the country’s football.

Among the concerns highlighted in a press release issued on Friday, KSAFA mentioned a lack of transparency regarding its restructuring proposal.  The local football bodies had clashed last year when the JFF had expressed the desire to implement wide-ranging reform to the island’s clubs and competition structure.

In addition, KSAFA expressed concerns regarding plans being in place for the start of the World Cup Qualifying campaign and youth development programs.  The body has resolved to establish a subcommittee responsible for monitoring and evaluating the actions of the JFF.

“At its meeting held to deliberate wide-ranging missteps of the local governing body, KSAFA was unified in expressing misgivings about the JFF’s plans to chart the course for Jamaica’s football,” the release read.

“KSAFA is committed to not only highlight the JFF’s missteps and to express misgivings, but is also insisting on greater accountability and transparency from the JFF.”

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has hailed former national striker for being a man that played the sport played the sport with his heart and soul and one that has gone too soon.

Shelton, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2018, died on Friday after being found unresponsive at his home.  He was 35-year-old.

Shelton, who was a prolific goal scorer for the country’s national team, holds the record for the most goals after registering 35 goals in 75 appearances.  32 of his goals came in matches that the team won. The deceased player began his career for the national team against Saint-Martin in 2005 and created history by being the first man to score four goals on debut.  His final goal for Jamaica came against Guatemala in 2012.

 “Shelton was a goalscorer of repute on who Jamaica depended on for many victories,” the release read.

“The Jamaica Football Federation like the rest of the country was saddened when he was diagnosed with ALS and many hoped and prayed for a miraculous recovery. He played with his heart and soul for Jamaica as well as for his school and clubs and he will always be remembered for that.

The JFF extends heartfelt condolences to his family and to the KSAFA family in this difficult time.”

 Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) director of football, Wendell Downswell, believes the continued absence of the country’s youth football programs and competitions will have a devastating impact on the sport over the next few years.

All official football competitions across Jamaica have been shuttered since March of last year, as the island battled to come to grips with the spread of the deadly coronavirus.  Included in that list are the island’s Premier League competition and all high school football competitions.

Both competitions typically cater to the need of developing players Under 21 years old who are selected for youth national teams and even acquire scholarships to overseas colleges through them.  

With the recent decision by FIFA to postpone the 2021 U-17 and U-20 World Cup and CONCACAF’s decisions to postpone the respective qualifiers, things are essentially at a standstill.

“You won’t see it immediately but in years to come, probably starting in 2023, you will see the results as it relates to our youth football itself,” Downswell told Football GPS.

“Youngsters if you look at it, in three categories, in four categories, at high school you have the U-14, Under-16 and of course the Manning Cup and DaCosta Cup.  At the parish level, you have the Under-15 competition, at the club level, you have the Under-14 competition that takes on an international flavor.  If you look from there you make the transition into the Under-15, Under-17, and the Under-20 national teams and you are looking at both sets of national teams, male and female," he added.

"If we look at it from the perspective that the schoolboy football competition has been abandoned because of COVID, you know the schoolboy competition provides us with a means to identify talent at both the schoolboy level and club level and when that’s not forthcoming it put a damper on our football.”

 

 

 

Page 2 of 2
© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.