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

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.

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.

 

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.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and national players have reportedly moved close to securing a deal after protracted and acrimonious negotiations.

According to reports, the latest counter-offer from the representatives of the players is a lot closer to what the JFF had initially offered and is now being considered by the body.  The parties are scheduled to meet to discuss the latest offer in short order. 

Initially, the parties had been miles apart on wage demands with the group of national players demanding US$7,000 ($1,039,068) per match, for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers and the JFF insisting that based on expenditure it was unable to go above US$2000 ($296,876).  However, according to JFF committee chairman Rudolph Speid the latest submission is much closer to what the JFF can afford.

“The players actually made a late submission to us yesterday.  They’re our players, we are not enemies, so we want to have a peaceful resolution," Speid told Television Jamaica.

“Of course, we are still determined that we have a plan that we have to stick to, but we are willing to listen to the players and we are going to be meeting with them again,” he added.

“They have come down substantially.  We are closer now than we have ever been before.”

Although Speid did not go into specifics, the new wage demand from the players is reported to be US$3000 ($445,315) and a US$2000 ($296,876) win bonus for the World Cup qualifiers.  However, a major sticking point is likely to be the team's demand for half of the US$8m ($1,187,507,200), prize money provided to the JFF by FIFA for qualifying for the tournament.  The amount the players would receive in that scenario would be US$4m ($593,753,600).

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.

 

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss Michael Ricketts has called on the country’s national players to be ‘reasonable’ and ‘balanced’ in their demands, given what the organisation has laid out as severe financial limitations.

With one day left before the deadline to sign contracts for the upcoming campaigns, the JFF and representatives of some national players remain far apart on wage demands.  The JFF has submitted a final offer of US$2,000 (300,255.80) per match, per player for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers, the players have, however, requested US$7,000 ($1,050,895.30).

According to Ricketts, however, the offer made by the JFF is grounded in the reality of what the federation can afford and as a result, is unlikely to be adjusted.

“We are still waiting and hoping for an amicable settlement.  I do hope that the players will be reasonable and balanced in whatever they decide to do.  I hope that they will agree to something that is manageable,” Ricketts told TVJ Sports.

“The committee has been having talks in recent times with the lawyer who represents some of the players.  How many of the players he legitimately and legally represents we are not sure but we want to ensure that we do have a relationship with our players,” he added.

The JFF president, however, warned that some players run the risk of being left out of the program if no agreement can be reached in time.

“I want to say that if a player insists that he is not signing for what we can afford to pay, then we are not going to hold anything against that player or particular players but the show has to go on, and if there are players willing to play and some who are not willing to play then we will have to go with those who are willing to play,” Ricketts said.

A letter released on behalf of Jamaica’s national football players has described recent information circulating in the media, regarding specifics of ongoing negotiations with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), as ‘inaccurate’ but were unable to set the record straight due to contractual obligations.

The details of the report caused bulging eyeballs, with claims the national team’s representatives had requested a few eye-watering sums for the upcoming campaigns.  Among the standout details was a US$7000 ($1,053,791.20) per player, per match request, in addition to a US$1,000 (150,541.60) win bonus, for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. 

With an assumed squad of 22 players, at that rate, excluding the bonus, the JFF could be forced to fork out US$154,000 ($23,183,406) per match for the 14 match qualifiers.  In total, the bill would amount to US$2,156,000 ($324,567,689) for the period and that would be the wage bill, exclusive of other expenses like travel and accommodation.  If the reports are accurate, the parties remain miles apart as the JFF has insisted the most it can offer is US$2000 ($301,083) per match.

In addition, the information released claimed the players have requested US$5,000 ($752,708), for an international friendly, which includes a US$1,000 dollar win bonus.  For the CONCACAF Nations League, that amount would fall to US$3,000 ($451,624.80).

According to the release issued by the players’ attorney, negotiations remained ongoing and it was premature to offer details on the issue.

“The players have indicated that it would be premature to make comments on an ongoing negotiation of such national importance,” the release read.

 “The players, upon request by the JFF through their attorney, were asked to keep details of the current negotiations confidential. The players are therefore exercising this responsibility and will not dishonour that request.

The players consider qualification to the World Cup and maintaining Jamaica's top 50 rankings as an important responsibility and remain committed to an amicable resolution with the JFF.

 They look forward to continuing meaningful discussions with the JFF around a number of outstanding issues, including, but not limited to, match remuneration.”

 

 

An excited Michail Antonio has begun the process of applying for his Jamaican passport and is eager to represent the country of his parents’ birth, Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts told Sportsmax.TV this morning.

 The Reggae Boyz are set to face the United States in Austria in an international friendly on March 25, as the team ramps up preparations for the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July and the World Cup qualifiers later in the year.

JFF President Michael Ricketts made the announcement during a virtual press conference earlier today.

Due to the current conditions related to the global pandemic, the match will be conducted under the UEFA Return to Play Protocol and will be played without fans at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Wiener Neustadt.

Ricketts said the JFF will be attempting to have a camp leading up to the match in Australia. They are to apply to the government for an exemption to the ongoing Covid-19 protocols. If not, they will try to leave for Austria on March 20, so the team will be able to spend a few days preparing in that country.

The meeting between the two teams will be the first since they clashed in the semi-finals of the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Nashville, Tennessee on July 3, 2019. The USA won that encounter 3-1 courtesy of two goals from Christian Pulisic and another from Weston McKennie.

Shamar Nicholson netted for Jamaica.

Jamaica had won a previous encounter 1-0 when the teams met in a friendly on June 5, 2019, in Washington D.C.

Since 1988, the teams have met 26 times with the USA holding a 16-3-8 overall record.

Jamaica’s World Cup campaign is set to be bolstered by the addition of West Ham striker Michail Antonio, who reports say, is to accept an invitation from the Jamaica Football Federation to represent the Reggae Boyz.

The ill-advised decision of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) to stage an impromptu and unapproved national camp, and the resulting positive Covid-19 cases, has played a part in delaying the sport’s resumption.

Earlier this month, the JFF landed in hot water after convening a national camp at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence without the requisite government approval.  The camp was shut down but not before at least six players and one official tested positive for COVID-19.

In a meeting on Friday, between sports minister Olivia Grange, the JFF, and representatives of the Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), meant to chart the way forward, the minister expressed her disappointment with the incident.  She also pointed out that any approval for the sport’s restart must include strict adherence to health protocols.

“I was very disappointed with the breach which has led to the delay of the restart of football but I am hoping that with this meeting, in which I spoke frankly and we came to a clear understanding, going forward, there will be no misunderstanding. This is a very serious matter, in light of the community spread of COVID-19, and all our actions have consequences,” Grange said.

“Therefore, no one can take unilateral decisions to commence training or competition because the action of any person or organisation can directly impact the players and the country in general. I know these are difficult times, so let us work together to overcome the challenges,” she added.

In response, both President of the JFF Michael Ricketts and PFJL Chairman, Christopher Williams, committed to both organisations following protocol and expressed eagerness for the return of local football.

With the exception of the national camp, organised football has not been played on the island since last March when the leagues and national programs were shut down in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

The Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) has vowed to keep a watchful eye on its parent body, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) after pointing out that it had ‘misgivings’ with its management of the country’s football.

Among the concerns highlighted in a press release issued on Friday, KSAFA mentioned a lack of transparency regarding its restructuring proposal.  The local football bodies had clashed last year when the JFF had expressed the desire to implement wide-ranging reform to the island’s clubs and competition structure.

In addition, KSAFA expressed concerns regarding plans being in place for the start of the World Cup Qualifying campaign and youth development programs.  The body has resolved to establish a subcommittee responsible for monitoring and evaluating the actions of the JFF.

“At its meeting held to deliberate wide-ranging missteps of the local governing body, KSAFA was unified in expressing misgivings about the JFF’s plans to chart the course for Jamaica’s football,” the release read.

“KSAFA is committed to not only highlight the JFF’s missteps and to express misgivings, but is also insisting on greater accountability and transparency from the JFF.”

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has hailed former national striker for being a man that played the sport played the sport with his heart and soul and one that has gone too soon.

Shelton, who was diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis in 2018, died on Friday after being found unresponsive at his home.  He was 35-year-old.

Shelton, who was a prolific goal scorer for the country’s national team, holds the record for the most goals after registering 35 goals in 75 appearances.  32 of his goals came in matches that the team won. The deceased player began his career for the national team against Saint-Martin in 2005 and created history by being the first man to score four goals on debut.  His final goal for Jamaica came against Guatemala in 2012.

 “Shelton was a goalscorer of repute on who Jamaica depended on for many victories,” the release read.

“The Jamaica Football Federation like the rest of the country was saddened when he was diagnosed with ALS and many hoped and prayed for a miraculous recovery. He played with his heart and soul for Jamaica as well as for his school and clubs and he will always be remembered for that.

The JFF extends heartfelt condolences to his family and to the KSAFA family in this difficult time.”

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