Former Reggae Boy Jermaine 'Teddy 'Johnson was among three persons shot in central Kingston on Thursday evening.

All three have been hospitalized and are said to be in stable condition.

A woman, who was also among the victims, is believed to be a netball player.

More to come...

 

 

When the pandemic shut the world down in March, it also shut down the world of sports.

All the major football leagues – the EPL, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Primera Liga; the NBA, Swimming, Super League Netball, everything was shut down for like four months.

It was the same here in Jamaica. The ISSA Boys and Girls Champs, Red Stripe Premier League, everything. If it was classified as a sport, it was done.

However, things gradually started to open back up.

The EPL and the other major European football leagues found a way to complete their respective seasons even if it came at great expense. Massive levels of testing of players and support staff, as well as technical people to facilitate the broadcast of the matches, played in empty stadia.

Players were quarantined in hotels and not allowed outside their respective bubbles in order to ensure that there was little chance that they or their teammates would become infected.

Here in Jamaica, there is talk of getting the Red Stripe Premier League going again later this year.  That should present quite a challenge for the 12 teams in the league and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), who will have to figure out how they are going to get things going while keeping the players and support staff safe.

Will they quarantine players and staff? Where will they house them? Will fans be allowed into the stadia where the teams are playing? This latter issue could be a major factor in how teams will approach the season.

In the absence of broadcast money and most likely corporate sponsorship, teams in the RSPL will depend heavily on gate receipts. However, with restrictions being placed on the number of supporters that will be allowed inside the stadia, how will teams stay afloat while still paying players and covering all the other costs associated with running a football franchise?

Perhaps, the JFF and the 12 teams will be able to fashion some semblance of a season but for schoolboy football, things are a lot more uncertain. The situation is so tenuous that not even the JFF President Michael Ricketts can say for sure whether there will be a school-boy season.

More than 40 teams contest the Manning Cup in Jamaica’s Corporate Area. Out in rural Jamaica, the magnitude of the undertaking is so much larger. More than a hundred schools are set to take part in the daCosta Cup competition.

I am not sure the Inter-Secondary Schools Sports Association can pull that off.

How will schools handle the players? Will they be allowed to go home once training camps begin? Will players be allowed to attend regular classes with other kids from so many different backgrounds and communities that might have asymptomatic people walking around or living in their homes?

 How will the schools protect coaches? How do schools plan to pay for sanitizers and all the other things needed to ensure that everyone remains safe during the course of the season?

On the face of it, I don’t think they can.

There are way too many schools, way too many environments to control and secure and way too many players to place in any kind of bubble that will guarantee their safety while preventing a national outbreak of the coronavirus in schools across the island.

As of today, fewer than 1000 Jamaicans have been confirmed to be carrying the COVID-19 virus. If there are any missteps, any gaps in proposed protocols, ISSA runs the risk of causing an island-wide outbreak that could see tens of thousands of Jamaicans becoming infected and possibly hundreds, if not thousands, of deaths.

The disaster would be on such a scale, Jamaica’s medical facilities would be significantly overwhelmed.

The way I see it, there should be no school-boy football in Jamaica for 2020. It would be foolhardy to even attempt it.

 

 

Jamaica's 2019/2020 football season in - nationally and at the parish level - has been cancelled and declared null and void, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts said in a statement on Friday.

According to Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) general secretary, Dalton Wint, the potential of changes to the hexagonal stage of CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying could hurt the Reggae Boyz chances of making it to Qatar in 2022.

Wint was responding to CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani’s comments about the possibility of the six-team final round going through changes because of the delays in sports on account of the worldwide spread of Coronavirus.

Montagliani, who witnessed FIFA’s cancellation of friendly windows in March and next month, is doubtful that matches can be played in September when the hexagonal section of CONCACAF qualifying is set to resume.

According to Montagliani, the hexagonal may involve more teams but that how that would look would depend on a new calendar coming from FIFA.

Wint explained that playing more games would mean a greater financial burden that the JFF had not bargained for.

“It depends on how the fixtures are set up because we do have a plan in our heads that we are approaching corporate Jamaica with, and that is to play 10 games. If we are having more games with a shorter time, then you might have some difficulty in acquiring the services of your best players, the facilities that you might need may not be available to you if you have more games, and the timeline in which to complete these things could cause us not to be prepared as properly as we would have wanted,” explained Wint.

Teams vying for a place at the World Cup in Qatar were to be given the opportunity to play in the CONCACAF six-team final and Jamaica, who now stand at fourth in the region, were preparing for that eventuality. The cut-off point for those rankings to count would have been June.

However, with teams not getting the opportunity to play for a spot in that six because of the COVID-19 issues, CONCACAF may be forced to make changes. As it stands, Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica, and Honduras are also among the six top sides.

“It might be disadvantageous to us,” said Wint, although he was keen to point out that a solution that was reasonable would not be met with opposition from the JFF.

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.”

World football governing body, FIFA, and The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) have combined forces to come up with amended Statutes as part of a bid to improve the governance of the sport at all levels.

A release from the JFF said earlier this month, Sarah Solemale, Senior Manager Governance, led discussions with the JFF hierarchy about its statutes.

Also at that meeting were Director of Caribbean Member Associations Affairs, Horace Reid, and One CONCACAF and Caribbean Projects Senior Manager, Howard McIntosh.

According to Solemale, FIFA, has since 2016, been targeting improved governance structures throughout the organisation, first within FIFA itself, and then throughout its member associations.

FIFA wants legislative, strategic, operational, and separation of powers among its member states and wants these changes to be made within the JFF before December 2020.

According to the release, the following was discussed:

 

  1. Who constitutes a member of the Federation and by so should be represented at the Congress. In this regard, the representation of regional bodies (parishes); interest groups (schools, referees etc) and the professional league was the recommendation from FIFA. By extension, the percentage representation of these groups would have to be determined. All members must be legal entities.

 

  1. The role and composition of the Board of Directors. On this FIFA recommended for discussion that three important areas of expertise must be represented on the Board: legal, finance and commercial. The recommendation is also that Board members cannot be delegates at Congress as this represents a major conflict of interest and also that there be a special focus on the competencies and efficiencies at the Board level. The composition must be guided by the question, how can the Board of Directors be made efficient to serve the development of the sport. In this regard, the Board also needed to operate on the principle of separation of powers. FIFA is also being insistent on gender inclusion on the Board and this should be clearly stated in the revised Statutes. Term limits for the President and members of the Board are also to be decided.

 

  1. The role of the General Secretariat: Emphasis was placed on the critical need for separation of powers between the Board of Directors and the General Secretariat and the need for staff expertise in the areas of Finance, Legal, Commercial and Technical. The General Secretary is the chief executive of the Secretariat and is required to provide operational leadership based on a clear Job Description and agreed to competencies, in carrying out the policies decided on by the Board of Directors. Expertise in audit and compliance was also highlighted as mandatory.

 

  1. Standing Committees: The role and composition of Standing Committees and in particular the independent committees (Judicial; Disciplinary; Appeals; Audit and Compliance and Electoral) was also discussed.

 

FIFA will send revised statutes to the JFF in time for the organisation to do a review and to dispense information on the changes to its parish associations ahead of the JFF's Congress at the end of the year where the new statutes will be ratified.

The Red Stripe Premier League has suspended matches scheduled for between Thursday and Monday, March 16, in light of the potential threat posed by the Coronavirus – Covid19.

A friendly international between Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz and the Spanish region of Catalonia has been postponed amidst ongoing fears relating to the spread of the Coronavirus.

Reports emanating from Spain have suggested that the Jamaica team did not want to travel to Europe for the March 30 friendly, as the region struggles to come to grips with the virus.  The number of cases reported in Spain has now reached 340, with the region of Catalonia accounting for 28.  None have, however, been reported in the city of Lleida.

Earlier this week Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) had promised to rely on advice from the ministry of health before finalising travel plans for the fixture.  The friendly was expected to be contested by an all European Jamaica international contingent, which head coach hoped to evaluate.  According to reports the JFF and the Spanish Football Association (SFA) are expected to reschedule the fixture just ahead of the World Cup qualifiers. 

The national team will return to action next week at the Montego Bay Sports Complex, where an all local contingent will face Bermuda.  The Reggae Boyz have made the CONCACAF Hexagonal round for the first time since the 2014 cycle and could be in line for a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.

 

One of the first things that Rudolph Speid wants to get done as he gets set to head up the Jamaica Football Federation’s Technical Committee is to see the organisation’s teams better prepared for each opponent they come across.

According to Speid, who along with Dennis Chung, were appointed to the JFF board on Tuesday, a lack of resources within the JFF was used too often as a crutch by the organisation’s administrators and he intended to stop it.

“We know we have to work within the resources that we have but a lot of the times we throw up our hands and don’t go all the way because of a lack of resources. Those are some of the things that we have to try and eliminate,” said Speid after the press conference where he was appointed.

Chung was chosen to lead the organisation’s Finance Committee.

Speid, former head of the Kingston & St Andrew Football Association and JFF Treasurer, said he believed the teams went into games with less than the information about their opponents than they should have.  

“A lot of the times I don’t think we analyze our opponents properly,” he said.

The job of doing this analysis, Speid believes, falls to the Technical Committee and the act could make all the difference to the success of the country.

“That is something that we’re going to be doing going forward and on a regular basis so we have a better understanding,” he said.

Speid also indicated that there was much to be done by the Technical Committee if its tenure was to be successful.

“Yeah, it is a lot of work if we do it properly but I am committed to doing it properly,” he said.

Speid is also president of the Red Stripe Premier League outfit, Cavalier SC.

Hubert Busby, who had the unfortunate task of leading the Reggae Girlz in their failed bid for a place at the Tokyo Olympics this month, believes that despite the obvious regression since a historic World Cup berth last year, there is hope for the future of the programme.

According to Busby, while investment in the Reggae Girlz is important, even more focus should be paid to the younger members of the programme, to the youth.

“I do think there needs to be some true strategic planning and putting things in place that are vitally important, not just for the [senior] women's programme, but the youth programme as well,” said Busby in an interview with Jamaican newspaper The Jamaica Observer.

According to Busby, he would want to continue as Reggae Girlz head coach, saying he would be honoured were the conditions right.

The conditions certainly were not right when Busby led the team into the final round of CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers, with the Reggae Girlz going down 1-0 to Mexico before receiving a 9-0 thrashing from Canada. There was some joy for the Reggae Girlz though, as their final game of the round was a 7-0 demolition of St Kitts & Nevis.

“Obviously if the conditions are right and there's a serious collaborative effort for the programme to progress, obviously I would once again be honoured to lead my country in this role,” he said.

The Reggae Girlz had one camp ahead of the qualifiers, largely because the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the coaching staff which took the Girlz to the World Cup, were at war.

Head coach Hue Menzies had resigned and his assistant Lorne Donaldson, who should have been a shoo-in for the top job, had enough reservations that his employers ultimately went in another direction with Busby. Donaldson consequently resigned having not known what his position with the team was.

“If you truly look at other national teams and how far they've come, all you have to do is look how much investment has gone into the youth programmes to see what comes through. So I'd love to be a part of the solution to make that happen in Jamaica, and look at how we can kind of formulate and work with those local coaches and the director of football and the federation to figure out how we continue to develop players on the island who are ready to play at international level,” said Busby.

The Jamaica Football Federation’s issues with the Reggae Girlz and who should coach them are not yet over with the Sunday night announcement that veteran coach, Lorne Donaldson has quit.

According to reports in the media, Donaldson left his post as Reggae Girlz assistant coach with immediate effect.

His resignation letter suggests the reason for the resignation falls in line with an earlier parting of the ways, by his boss, Hue Menzies.

"This decision is primarily based on the questionable integrity and lack of professionalism within the leadership of the JFF," said Donaldson, who is also executive director of coaching at Real Colorado Soccer.

Menzies had resigned, suggesting the JFF were not professional in handling contract negotiations.

Donaldson, who was seen as frontrunner to take Menzies place had said he would not take the head coach job unless things changed.

Now he wants nothing to do with the job completely.

The resignation also comes days after the JFF announced an interim head coach appointment for Hubert Busby, who had been the Reggae Girlz goalkeeping coach.

There was also the appointment of long-time Boys’ Town coach Andrew Price as an assistant, as the Reggae Girlz take on the second round of Olympic Qualifying next month.

Donaldson’s letter did not make mention of the fact that an assistant was hired while he was substantively in that role but his last tour with the women’s programme was to hold a training camp for under-17 and under-20 Reggae Girlz last month.

Before that Donaldson took up head coaching during the Reggae Girlz successful first round of Olympic qualifying, while Menzies took time off.

Here is Donaldson’s full resignation letter

Dear Mr. [Michael] Ricketts:

After careful consideration, I must immediately tender my resignation from all duties associated with the Jamaica Football Federation women’s program. This decision is primarily based on the questionable integrity and lack of professionalism within the leadership of the JFF.

I’m honored to have served Jamaica’s football community for over 45 years and will continue to do so in many capacities. However, I will not in clear conscience, continue to work for an organization that blatantly disregard the sacrifices of the coaching staff and the Reggae Girlz. As coaches, we have overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, but jointly we successfully led our women’s senior team to their first FIFA Women’s World Cup in history. This was a tremendous feat and one for which we should all be incredibly proud.

I thank the JFF, Hue Menzies and my peers, Reggae Girlz Ambassador, Cedella Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation who were instrumental in bringing financial support and reviving awareness through social media about the plight of the Reggae Girlz. I also thank members of the Reggae Girlz Foundation, our many sponsors and the Jamaican supporters worldwide for their unwavering support.

Most importantly, I sincerely thank all members of the Reggae Girlz teams for their dedication and commitment while overcoming adversity in challenging conditions as without them these accomplishments would not have been possible.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts says his organization will be announcing a new head coach for the Reggae Girlz in a matter of days.

According to Ricketts, the JFF’s technical committee, which has the prevue of selecting a coach, will make its decision after discussions with stakeholders on Tuesday.

According to Ricketts, the decision will be made to replace former head coach Hue Menzies, who announced his intention to leave the programme via the media more than a week ago, despite not receiving a formal resignation.

“We haven’t gotten anything official,” said Ricketts.

“But he has gone public [with his resignation], so we just have to take it that he will not be a part of the programme,” he said.

Menzies announced his intention to leave the programme after four years, citing a lack of communication from the JFF regarding a new contract that had expired in August, as well as unpaid salaries and reimbursements.

Menzies had refused to coach the team until all unpaid monies were sent his way.

The former coach’s stance meant he missed the first round of Olympic Qualifiers with the Reggae Girlz.

Those qualifiers still went well under the guidance of assistant coach Lorne Donaldson, with the final round of qualifiers set to take place from January 28 to February 9, 2020.

Donaldson’s performance is reported to have made him frontrunner for the job, however, the assistant has hinted at reservations about taking the new post.

Reggae Girlz assistant coach Lorne Donaldson believes the women’s programme in Jamaica has taken a hit with the departure of World Cup qualifying coach, Hue Menzies.

Menzies, on Tuesday, announced his intention to leave the programme after disputes with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) seemed not to have a resolution in sight.

According to Menzies, the JFF has not paid money due to him in his contract, failed to communicate with him regarding a new contract after his expired in August, and have not reimbursed him for expenses incurred on the job.

Donaldson, himself, has said he would be unwilling to take up the top post, coaching the Girlz, unless there were guarantees that some of the issues Menzies spoke about were addressed.

“Menzies not being around puts a hole in the programme; the staff is really bummed because we did a lot of work within the last five years, some of it is work done behind the scenes that people don't know about, and we scraped and fought with these kids. So Hue not being around is a big setback for this programme,” said Donaldson.

The executive director of coaching at Real Colorado Soccer also believes there is a lot of uncertain surrounding the programme with just a couple of months to go before the Reggae Girlz take on the final round of Olympic Qualification.

“The crucial stage of the Olympic qualifiers is coming up, but we already messed that up because we had a game against the USA and we didn't take the game. We would have played the number one team in the world and we didn't take the game, so all this stuff is a setback for us,” said Donaldson.

“Now we missed the FIFA window; no games and I don't know when we are going to have any friendly games or camps because everything seems to be very difficult. I know Costa Rica wants to play us in January, and that's kind of late, but Costa Rica is still waiting for them to respond, so I don't know,” he said.

Still, Donaldson believes there is much promise in the Reggae Girlz programme and wants to ensure that that promise is fulfilled.

“We are going to concentrate on the players because we actually owe it to them. [Hubert] Busby and I, we made a commitment to some of the parents and players for the U-20s and U-17s,” said Donaldson.

“Again, it is going to be difficult trying to do the U-17s and the U-20s because nobody seems like they are interested on that side. There is interest elsewhere, but we have to find the right people who want to see women's football succeed in Jamaica. Right now it is not happening,” he said.

Assistant coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz, Lorne Donaldson, does not want to step into the vacancy left by the departing Hue Menzies if women’s football in the country is treated the same way it has been.

Despite numerous successes in recent times, Reggae Girlz head coach, Hue Menzies has decided he can no longer continue in his capacity after a protracted dispute did not seem to be coming to an amicable solution.

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