JFF could face fine for CONCACAF U-15 fiasco

By Sports Desk August 06, 2019

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is likely to face a fine, in addition to a bill for reimbursement, after the embarrassing fiasco that forced the team to withdraw from the CONCACAF U-15 Championships last week.

The Jamaicans were originally slated to compete in Group D, alongside Costa Rica, Portugal and Barbados.  The team was, however, forced to pull out of the tournament as not enough players were able to acquire US visa in time.

According to JFF General Secretary Dalton Wint, the organization was unable to secure emergency visa appointments for most of the team, following the US Embassy’s inability to handle the request.   Wint explained that the reason given was that the embassy was short-staffed during the Independence Day holiday period.  Only five of the 21 players held valid travel documents. 

Based on CONCACAF statues the JFF could be in hot water.  The regulations state that ‘if a team withdraws before the start of the competition, they will be fined US$10,000’. The Jamaica Football organizing body could also foreseeably be asked to reimburse CONCACAF and the Local Organising Committee (LOC) for any costs incurred as a result of its proposed involvement or eventual non-involvement.

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    Jamaica’s football programmes are under threat from the pandemic now affecting the world says Jamaica Football Federation president, Michael Ricketts.

    With the world’s top leagues either cancelled or suspended, the JFF has had to follow suit, suspending its leagues as well as a friendly against Catalonia courtesy of travel restrictions to that country.

    “It is affecting the football product itself, because we are not playing any football, and our overseas assignments, we have to be putting them on hold,” said Ricketts, before looking at all the short-term issues the organization has faced.

    “Our girls, by now, would have been in Mexico preparing for the Concacaf Under-17 World Cup qualifiers. We would be on our way now to look at some English-based players and then move over to Spain for our friendly match against Catalonia,” said Ricketts.

    “We were having discussions for a high-profile game in June in New York, and that had to be put on hold,” he said. “This has set us back in a huge way, but it is a pandemic and it is affecting the entire world.”

    According to Ricketts, the JFF will have to rush to get games as soon as it is safe to do so in a bid to get back on track.

    “We are definitely going to have some catching up to do and, of course, we will now have to hastily get some games after we get permission from our parent organisation, and from the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” Ricketts said.

    “For now, we are at a standstill and we just have to be very hopeful. I am pretty certain that, in a few days, the Government and Ministry of Health will be doing further assessments and will certainly advise us accordingly.”

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