JOA says it will bring about end to impasse with JAAA over travel costs to the Commonwealth Games

By Sports Desk July 23, 2022

The Jamaica Olympic Association on Saturday issued a statement clarifying comments made by Jamaica Administrative Athletics Association treasurer Ludlow Watts regarding the payment for air travel for the Jamaican Track & Field delegation for the 2022 Commonwealth Games scheduled for July 28-August 8 in Birmingham.

“The Jamaica Olympic Association, given a report by Kayon Raynor regarding the travel arrangements in relation to the Commonwealth Games, is obliged to respond to state the facts and rehearse the same for the benefit of Mr. Ludlow Watts, JAAA's Treasurer, who is alleged to have made unfortunate comments concerning the matter,” the statement started.

It continued: "From time immemorial travel grants in relation to athletes and officials have been instituted by owners of regional and international games and this has not changed and all parties are aware of this fact.

Last year in relation to the Tokyo Olympic Games, travel agencies were identified with which member associations were advised to interface in making travel arrangements for their athletes and officials. The JAAA compiled and consulted a travel agency and made appropriate arrangements on behalf of their athletes and officials with the agency which is the said agency that is handling arrangements for the JAAA for the Commonwealth Games.

Mr. Watts, a seasoned manager, understands that the travel grant is a fixed sum and as obtained in relation to the Tokyo Olympics, is aware that travel arrangements should be made efficiently by his association to avoid increased costs.

In the report by Kayon Raynor, Mr. Watts fails to mention that the JAAA adhered to the policy with respect to the Tokyo Games and gives the impression that the JOA has the responsibility of dealing directly with member athletes of his governing body whose itineraries and attendant obligations are more known to the JAAA.

Based on the previous course of dealing respecting the Tokyo Olympic Games to which the JAAA adhered, the impression given is misconceived. What clearly is of concern to Mr. Watts, as keeper of the JAAA's treasury, is the risk of increased travel costs consequent upon the delay committed by his association in failing to provide a definitive list of athletes and officials with settled itineraries coupled with its continual reworking of lists of athletes and officials in a vain attempt to comply with the regulations of the Commonwealth Games Federation.

It is from this self-imposed risk that Mr. Watts is attempting to flee in "championship" style.

Furthermore, the JOA is alarmed that in the report of Kayon Raynor, Mr. Watts states that there is an overage of US$1,240.00 per person versus the individual travel grant when the JOA, to date, is still not in receipt from the JAAA of the itinerary costs of the track and field delegation.

All other member associations which have sports participating in the Commonwealth Games, in keeping with the established course of dealing, interfaced with their respective travel agencies, made appropriate bookings cost-effectively and are either comfortable in Birmingham or en route seamlessly.

Had Mr. Watts, as Chancellor of the Exchequer of the JAAA, complied with the CGF's regulations and refrained from providing lists that changed continually and are still changing to date he would not have found himself and place his association in this quandary.

Despite Mr Watts' failure to manage the process, the JOA, in the interest of Jamaica's athletes, will work with the travel agency with a view to having them attend the Games. Also, the JOA reminds Mr. Watts that it has never resiled from its obligation regarding travel costs and therefore his misstatement that the JOA is refusing to pay is ill-conceived. What he must consider is that the business of sport requires economic decisions to ensure viability."

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