Retied Jamaica international, Fitzroy Simpson, has called for the return of the spirit of togetherness for the Reggae Boyz, expressing the hope that the current squad can go on to match the exploits of his historic 1998 unit.

Up until recently, some members of the Jamaica national team and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) were embroiled in a bitter contractual dispute, which saw several members of the team unavailable for the Caribbean team’s clash against the United States last month.

With the dispute now settled, and the CONCACAF Gold Cup and World Cup qualifiers coming later this year, Simpson is urging both parties to come together.

“Unity is so important,” Simpson said in a recent interview with the Irish Mirror.

“The set-up now has to be unified and improvements made on the business side,” he added.

Simpson was one of several English-based players to join the Jamaica national team ahead of their historic qualification for the World Cup in France.  The former Manchester City and Portsmouth player started all three games at the tournament and has fond memories of not just playing at the final itself but also the build-up.

“It was breathtaking.  It was the greatest honour in my playing career to lead Jamaica to history,” Simpson said.

“I remember my mother, my brother, and my uncle in the stadium when we qualified.  I looked at them and couldn't believe what we had achieved because Jamaica wasn't recognised as a footballing nation.  The whole country really drove us on, the support was incredible.”

 

 

Jamaica international Liam Moore has vowed to quit social media after being the subject of vile abuse earlier this week. 

The Reading captain was the target of a poll that posed the racist question “Should a n***** be captain of Reading FC?" The account has since been deleted.

In response, Moore also laid the blame at the feet of the social media platform.  The issue has once again been the subject of intense scrutiny in recent weeks.

"2021 and I'm not ****ing surprised in the slightest. Twitter you're as much to blame for making it so easy to abuse people,” he tweeted.

 Earlier this week, Swansea announced that they would not take part in any social media activity for two weeks, following the abuse of another Jamaica international Jamal Lowe.  They were joined in protest by Scottish club Rangers.  Arsenal legend Thierry Henry had also previously announced the decision to delete his social media accounts in a bid to direct attention to the issue.

While pointing out that he had enjoyed interacting with the fans via social media, Moore denoted the environment to be an increasingly toxic one.

"I have enjoyed engaging with many of you on here over the years but tonight was just another example of Twitter being toxic,” he added.

"You have to stand for something and for that reason I am deactivating my account. Thanks for your support."

 

Jamaica international and Swansea forward, Jamal Lowe, believes an end to the ability to be completely anonymous on social media platforms could go a long way in helping to combat racism online and hate speech.

The 26-year-old player found himself the target of racist online abuse following the team’s loss to Birmingham City last weekend.  The forward was the third Swansea player since February to suffer the issue.

In response, Swansea announced that the club would boycott any social media-related activities for two weeks.  They were joined in the effort by Scottish club Rangers.  The player hopes the effort will at least bring more attention to the issue or push social media platforms towards a response.

The issue of the right to online anonymity has provoked fierce debate since the early days of the internet.  At current, individuals are not required to provide identification in order to sign up for accounts, Lowe believes that could part of the issue.

“At the moment, no one knows who is abusing any of us,” Lowe told Sky Sports.

“You’ve got an Instagram account, or a Twitter account or whatever when you sign up, put your email address in, put your national insurance number in or your passport number in, your driver’s license number, something that can identify you as a person,” he added.

“Something that can be linked back to who you really are and not just a page you created in five minutes, send some abuse and delete it because that’s a never-ending story.”

 

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.

The Jamaica Football Federation is said to be close to a resolution in the wage impasse with the Reggae Boyz.

English Football League (EFL) club Swansea has called for social media companies to do more to combat racial abuse on their platforms after Jamaica international Jamal Lowe was abused on Instagram following defeat at Birmingham City on Friday night.

Lowe posted the now removed message to his personal page, with the caption “some serious idiots out there.”  The issue of players being abused online has again come to the fore in recent weeks with legendary Arsenal forward Thierry Henry quitting social media to highlight the issue.  

Lowe was the third Swansea player, since February, to be subjected to racist abuse on social media.

"This is the third time in space of seven weeks where one of our players has been subjected to such abhorrent messages, and we continue to call on social media companies to go above and beyond to eradicate this appalling level of behaviour from their platforms," a Swansea spokesperson said.

"Jamal has the full and unwavering support of everyone at the football club,” he added.

Lowe, 26, has scored nine goals in 41 Swansea appearances since joining the Welsh club from Wigan in August 2020.  The player also recently scored on debut for Jamaica in a 4-1 loss to the United States in Austria.

England international, Declan Rice, is confident the Three Lions have plenty of firepower to choose from in light of West Ham teammates Michail Antonio’s decision to represent the Jamaica national team.

The 30-year-old striker, who has Jamaican parents, announced his decision to change nationalities a few months ago and is expected to join up with the Caribbean team at the end of the EPL season.

The powerful forward was called up by England in 2016 but has never made an appearance for the country.  Despite consternation raised in some quarters, regarding the prospect of England losing the forward, Rice believes the team has plenty of cover and tipped his teammate for success with the Reggae Boyz.

“He’s such a handful. I see it every day in training. He’s so strong. He holds the ball up well. He makes efficient runs in behind. He’s a defender's worst nightmare,” Rice told the UK Dailey Star.

“But look he’s chosen his allegiance with Jamaica now. I’m sure he’s going to have a great time there,” he added.

“We’ve got other strikers that pledged themselves to England that haven’t got in the squad lately who can easily fill the boots of Antonio, so, we’re well prepared with strikers.”

The Hammers star Antonio has seven goals and five assists so far this season, as West Ham are locked in battle for a top-four finish.

 

Jamaica Reggae Boy, Kemar Lawrence, has accused the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) of cutting the legs out from under the team’s head coach Theodore Whitmore.

Whitmore, who signed a new four-year contract with the JFF in 2018, has largely stayed on the sidelines as some members of the national squad and the JFF have wrangled over contractual negotiations for the past few months.

The coach has, however, on occasion made his frustrations know, mostly as it relates to dissatisfaction with the lack of organisation and lack of resources available for the national program.

In addressing the ongoing issue during a recent interview with YouTube channel Reggae Boyz Commentary, Lawrence highlighted a few of the issues that also impacted the coach.  The defender pointed to the fact that the team has only one physiotherapist and one equipment manager as some of the issues that have impacted the unit.  Whitmore has in addition requested a video analyst as part of his technical staff but, to date, no such post has been created.

“What Tappa has been doing with the limited number of resources that he has; you want to break that up? Tappa is getting it right and we have a short space of time and he is doing his best to make everything work and the Federation is cutting his legs from under him,” Lawrence said.

“We want them to understand where we are coming from and just be honest. They share things in TV interviews that are nowhere close to what is the truth. Tell the Jamaican people what is going on,” he added.

“The players reach a level where they are fed up. If the (JFF’s) approach is “hol this” then bring who wants to go to the Gold Cup (to play) without 2 or 3 medical staff, physio or a technical coach, because these are the things that will get us to win in the finals, not just being there.

It’s a difference between us and the USA because every time they do well they look at what they have done and they bring more to the table in terms of video sessions, anything to help.”

Whitmore led the team to the 2017 Gold Cup final, the second time it has done so in its history.

Jamaica Reggae Boy, Kemar Lawrence. has insisted the current dispute with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is about more than money but also respect and equality for all members of the national team.

For the past couple of months, several members of the national team and the JFF have been locked in bitter contractual negotiations ahead of what will be a crucial year for the national team, which will see it participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and later the World Cup qualifiers.

Initial reports revealed that the parties were far apart on negotiations with the federation balking at, among other things, the player’s initial proposal of US$7,000 per game for the World Cup qualifiers.  In response, the JFF insisted it was unable to go above US$2,000 and the parties have been unable to bridge that gap since.

In recent weeks, however, the parties reportedly moved closer to an agreement in key several areas.  However, several regular team players remained absent for the recent friendly against the United States, which the team lost 4-1, meaning some issues were yet to be resolved.  With the issue sharply diving opinion, some have accused the players of being mercenaries.  Insisting nothing could be further from the truth, however, Lawrence pointed to issues of inequality and unfairness in terms of how certain players were treated as another crucial sticking point.

“The negotiations are about more than one thing, it’s not about the money. People are getting injured flying economy across the world and when they reach, they only have two days to train and then play,” Lawrence told YouTube channel Reggae Boyz Commentary.

 “The other day when we were going to Saudi Arabia, upon boarding my flight in London, I met with four English-based players who went into business class and they put me in economy. On the way back, the same thing. I play for an elite club in the topflight in Belgium. I have more caps than all four put together and these are the things that cause segregation. Enough seats were on the flight, so what do they leave me as a senior player to think? Where is the level of respect and professionalism? At the end of the day, I have a job to do and I try to do it to the best of my ability. It has happened to me, Lowe, Blake, Flemmings, all of us, and this is not the second or third time that this has happened,” he added.

 “Put players on direct flights, business class flights. We need medical staff. How can you have one physio for 24 players? You have one equipment manager, one man, and he is over 50. The JFF doesn’t think he needs some help? Then you have 12 members of their delegation. Why can’t we get additional medical staff and a physical coach on the technical team to aid our coach?” Lawrence asked.

The 28-year-old defender has made some 60 appearances for the Jamaica national team and was a part of the units that carried Jamaica to successive CONCACAF Gold Cup finals.

English Championship strugglers Sheffield Wednesday have decided against signing Jamaica international Ravel Morrison after a brief trial period at the club.

The former Manchester United youth standout was invited to train with the club earlier this month after leaving Eredivisie minnows ADO Den Haag in January.  The Owls were weighing up the decision to give the midfielder a contract until the end of the season but decided against doing so.

The club would have needed to register the 28-year-old last week, in order to add him to the first-team squad for the rest of the season.  The team currently finds itself mired in the relegation zone, in 23rd position, with only a handful of games to save themselves.

For his part, Morrison will be looking for his 12th club in what has been a nomadic career to date.  Some of the player’s former clubs have included West Ham United, Lazio, Queens Park Rangers, and Middlesbrough.

Interestingly Wednesday is coached by another Jamaica international Darren Moore.   Moore's men entered the international break in good heart following a positive win over Barnsley.

Wednesday return to action on Friday when they travel to automatic promotion contenders Watford.

The two players in Reggae Boyz delegation who tested positive for the Covid-19 virus have now tested negative. However, two other players including one who is based in England have tested positive and have been isolated 48 hours before they face off against the United States in an international friendly.

According to a statement from the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), another test was done today Tuesday, March 23 “as per UEFA match day minus two protocol”.

 Those results will be available tomorrow.

“The protocols are being strictly followed in the hotel and every individual is constantly reminded of his responsibility by the team medical personnel and team manager Roy Simpson,” the JFF said.

“The team now has a physiotherapist in the form of Nico Reishofer, an Austrian. The first training session in Austria was scheduled for 6 pm today.

 

Two members of the Reggae Boyz delegation in Austria for their international friendly against the United States on Thursday have tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, the Jamaica Football Federation announced today.

The members of the delegation were tested when they arrived in Austria earlier today.

The players have been isolation in their hotel rooms in keeping with UEFA protocols while they await another test before any activity can be initiated.  All the players subsequently took a PCR Covid-19 test with the results due 12 hours later.

Ten England-based players including Adrian Mariappa and Michael Hector, are among those who are now in Austria.

 

 Former Wimbledon FC defender, Andy Clement, will serve as a physical trainer for the Jamaica national team ahead of its friendly international against the United States in Austria next Thursday.

Clement, who currently plies his trade with Mount Pleasant football club, will be forced to stand in after both the national team's regular trainers Lamar Morgan and Jason Henry did not make the tour.  Henry was not able to travel with the team after reportedly not managing to secure a contract in time.

Clement was suited for the job as being an Englishman he does not need a Schengen visa to enter Europe.  The team was originally expected to depart the island for the US this weekend, after completing a four-day training camp at the Horace Burrell Academy.

However, the JFF was forced to quickly alter plans after it was discovered that applications for travel to Austria had to be done in person at the current time.  The delegation, as a result, hastily departed the island on Tuesday in order to meet a Wednesday morning appointment for Schengen visas at the Austrian Embassy, in the United States.  The group was as a result without both a physical trainer and physiotherapist, important members of the support staff.

The local contingent of the Jamaica national football team was forced to hastily depart the island on Tuesday, hastily scrapping a camp that was to be held at the UWI/JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre over the next few weeks.

According to a release, the issue was caused by the fact the Austrian Embassy, in Washington, would not accept digital applications.  As such all players and officials who wished to secure the relevant documentation for the trip were required to be present at the embassy by 9:00 am on Wednesday, March 17.

Originally, the 14-man all locally-based players were to take part in the camp at the academy before departing for Austria this weekend to meet up with the rest of the squad, which consists of overseas-based players.  The JFF expressed disappointment with the unexpected turn of events.

“The JFF was indeed disappointed that an environment that would have allowed our players to once again begin to practice their craft could not be fully utilised at this time,” the organisation said via its release.

“The Federation sincerely thanks the Minister of Culture, Gender Entertainment and Sport, Hon. Olivia Grange, as well as officers at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and the Ministry of Health and Wellness for their extraordinary support in establishing protocols and procedures for the camp. We remain very grateful for the work done and the cooperative spirit that has developed on both sides,” it added.

“These protocols will still be utilised going forward as the national team prepares for the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup and the World Cup Qualifiers.”

The match against the USA is scheduled for the Stadion Wiener Neustadt, in Austria, next Thursday.

President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Michael Ricketts, has admitted that the team’s preparation ahead of the upcoming friendly against the United States is less than ideal, as the team will be without some of its best players for the encounter.

With the JFF and some national representatives yet to agree to terms on player contracts, several players will not suit up for the friendly.  President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts, however, believes the situation is an opportunity.

“The show must go on,” he said. “We will be missing some of our best players, but this game provides a perfect opportunity for coach Whitmore to see other players who could possibly help to bolster his squad going forward. It is not a perfect situation, but it could be useful.”

At least one member of a 15-man local squad, called by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to prepare for the upcoming friendly against the United States, tested positive for the coronavirus and is now isolating at home.

The rest of the contingent, including head coach Theodore Whitmore, ancillary staff, and administrative staff, tested negative for the virus and are now in camp at the UWI/JFF/Captain Horace Burrell Centre.

The local unit will train at the venue for the next few days before leaving on the weekend of the 20th to join the overseas-based players, who will fly directly to Austria by March 22.  The match will take place on March 25th at the SC Wiener Neustadt.  The match will be Jamaica’s first international friendly since they faced Saudi Arabia over two legs, in November of last year.

 

 

 

 

 

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