Leon Bailey and Michail Antonio will not be available for the Reggae Boyz matches against Japan and Serbia that have been scheduled for June as Jamaica’s senior squad continues its preparation for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the World Cup qualifiers in September.

Reggae Boyz Captain Andre Blake has confirmed that the players have rejected the Jamaica Football Federation’s offer on terms and wages for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and CONCACAF Gold Cup saying that they are willing to boycott all those competitions as they seek respect and fairness from their local football authorities.

“The players are prepared to go all the way,” Blake told Sportsmax.TV today. “They treat us like slaves and we are done being slaves!”

The players had made an initial request of US$7000 per player per match for the World Cup qualifiers set to begin in September. The JFF countered with an offer of US$2000 per match with bonuses of US$1000 for each win and US$500 for a draw. They claim they are unable to afford more.

The players had until last Friday to sign their contracts but sources indicate that the JFF had extended the deadline by a “few days” to give them more time to mull what has been described as a “take it or leave it” offer.

However, on the weekend, the players began to post ‘Take A Stand’ memes on their social media pages, a clear indication that they were not willing to accept the JFF’s offer.

Blake confirmed that to Sportsmax.TV this afternoon.

“The JFF submitted an offer, we countered that offer and they said they weren’t prepared to counter our offer,” Blake said. “We did have a new offer to put to the JFF and they made it clear, so after they did not counter-counter our offer, we reached out to let them know we were going to send in a new offer and they outright let us know that it was almost pointless to send the new offer because they will not entertain it.

“What they have on the table is what it is; you sign it you are eligible for selection, if you don’t then you’re not. So, at this point, yes, I and the players said ‘sorry but we cannot sign that contract, so that’s where we’re at right now.”

Blake said the players have now decided to take a stand because they believe the abuse at the hands of the JFF has been going on for too long. “It’s been generation on top of generation, anybody who has played for Jamaica can attest to this,” he said.

“If we don’t put a stop to this, 20 years later, my kids’ kids or other players’ kids or public members’ kids are going to be playing for the same money and under the same poor organization, structure and poor professionalism and poor communication and Jamaica football will never get better.”

He explained further that the current stance that the players are taking is not just about money.

“It’s more about respect and how the JFF approaches negotiations,” he said referring to the leaked voice note on recent negotiations where JFF officials were heard referring to the players in a disrespectful manner as they tried to negotiate terms for the two-match trip to Saudi Arabia in November 2020.

“The way the JFF goes about business is unacceptable and the players are just at a point where we think we have had enough,” Blake said. “Some things need to change. The JFF can definitely operate in a more professional manner.

“There is just so much more than they make it seem as if players are just in it for the money. They can go ahead and violate negotiations by leaking what they want and keep confidential what they want just to paint a bad picture of the players.”

Asked what he would like to see the JFF do to improve their relationship with the players, Blake said:

“They JFF need to start to put the players first. The JFF is not putting the players in the best possible position to be successful. And when we are not successful using baskets to carry water, everything falls back on the players.

“Travel arrangements are poor, hotel accommodations are poor, communication, poor, organization poor. It’s been going on for a while and we have just had enough. That’s the point where we are at right now and it’s nothing about whether you’re willing to play for free.

“The JFF, they do things backwards. The board should enjoy all the luxury treatment and reap all the benefits while the players go out there and do all the work. It’s slavery and we’re done being slaves for the JFF.”

 Calls to members of the JFF executive went unanswered.

 

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.

 

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