After being at loggerheads over wages for the past few weeks, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the Reggae Boyz have reached a contractual agreement that now allows the focus to return to the coming CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Haiti will take on St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Guatemala faces Guyana while Trinidad and Tobago will go up against Monserrat when Round One of the preliminaries of the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup kicks off on July 2 and 3 at Inter Miami CF Stadium in Florida.

Cuba will tackle French Guiana, Guadeloupe will battle The Bahamas and Bermuda go up against Barbados in what will be the first time ever that the competition will have preliminaries that will see three teams qualify for the 16-team Group Stage.

“We look forward with great anticipation to this summer’s Gold Cup, which will undoubtedly be enhanced by this new Preliminary Round,” said Concacaf President and FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani.

“The past year has been very challenging in our region and our thoughts are with all the communities that have suffered. We hope the opportunity to watch the best men’s national teams in Concacaf compete in our flagship tournament can provide fans with some hope and enjoyment

All 12 of the competing nations in the Prelims will get a full Gold Cup experience at the excellent Inter Miami facilities and we look forward to a great set of games.”

“We look forward to hosting the Gold Cup Prelims tournament in our stadium,” said Inter Miami CF Managing Owner Jorge Mas. “Our facilities in Fort Lauderdale were built with the intent of giving our fans opportunities to enjoy the world’s game knowing that our vibrant culture and sports-centric region would be attractive for global teams and competitions. This is just the beginning of the great things that lie ahead.”

Round Two will begin on July 6 when the winner of the Haiti/St Vincent clash will take on the winner of the Bermuda/Barbados matchup. The winner of the Guatemala/Guyana encounter will play the winner of the Guadeloupe/Bahamas match. And finally, the winner of the Cuba/French Guiana match will tackle the winner of the Trinidad and Tobago/Montserrat clash.

The winning nation in each of the three Round Two matchups will advance to the Group Stage of the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, where they were drawn into Group A, B and C as follows:

Group A: Mexico, El Salvador, Curacao, and Winner Prelims 9

Group B: USA, Canada, Martinique, and Winner Prelims 7

Group C: Costa Rica, Jamaica, Suriname, and Winner Prelims 8

Group D: Honduras, Panama, Grenada, and Qatar.

The 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup group stage will kick off on July 10 and run through August 1, 2021, and will feature 16 national teams, of which Canada, Costa Rica, Curaçao, El Salvador, Grenada, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, eight-time and defending champion Mexico, Panama, Suriname, six-time champion the United States, are already qualified to the group stage of the tournament. Additionally, Qatar has been invited to the tournament as the current champion and representative of the Asian Football Confederation.

The remaining three countries will qualify through the Gold Cup Prelims, in which 12 Member Associations will compete for the final three spots, to be played July 2-6- at Inter Miami CF Stadium in South Florida.

 

 

Five Jamaican referees have been selected to officiate at the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup starting July 10 in the United States.

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.

 

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.