President of the Jamaica Football Federation Michael Ricketts was on Saturday elected a Vice President of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) during a virtual Annual Congress of the regional body.

"I feel honoured that my regional colleagues have seen it fit to place their faith in my abilities to support the leadership of this important organisation. I will do everything within my power working with my colleagues to ensure that the mandate and expectations of this body are fulfilled," said Ricketts, who became the second Jamaican to occupy the post.

The late Captain Horace Burrell was also a vice president of the CFU.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz head coach, Hubert Busby, has been suspended indefinitely by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) while it conducts an inquiry into previous allegations of sexual misconduct.

The 52-year-old, who has been head of the country’s national team since 2020, has faced resurfaced allegations that he attempted to force himself on a player in 2010, during his time as coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team.

Busby has denied the allegations in a previous report, but the Whitecaps did part ways with the coach sometime after the accusations surfaced.  The team, however, made no mention of allegations of sexual misconduct being the reason he was fired.

Major League Soccer announced that it would conduct investigations into how that situation was handled.  The JFF for its part has asked its parent body FIFA to conduct a full investigation into the incident, which will determine the next steps to be taken. 

“We will await the evidence of the FIFA investigation.  We do not want to make permanent decisions until we have the facts.  At the same time, we have to ensure that our women and girls are protected by those who lead them,” JFF president Michael Ricketts said via a press release.

Busby coached the team in two practice matches against Costa Rica and was expected to lead a camp later this month.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in association with CONCACAF, will be hosting a team from the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Assist League Development Programme for a capacity-building workshop with clubs in the Jamaica Premier League.

The workshop begins on Tuesday, October 5, 2021, at the Jamaica Pegasus hotel in Kingston, and ends on Friday, October 8, with a closing session and Press Conference at midday.

UEFA’s key aims are to share knowledge and best practices to help UEFA’s sister confederations and their member associations develop and strengthen football within their respective territories as well as to respond to the needs of national associations and confederations around the world while increasing solidarity and facilitating football development globally.

The intensive programme will cover a wide range of topics on best practices in the modern league across several topics aimed at further developing the Clubs of the Jamaica Premier League.

"The clubs represent the main cornerstone for the development of football in Jamaica. We have come a long way in club development over the years but there is still a mountain to climb if we are to get to our destination,” said JFF President Michael Ricketts.

“This workshop will help to bridge the knowledge gap and introduce our clubs to best practices and methods in today's game. The JFF welcomes the assistance of both CONCACAF and UEFA and I implore the participants to capture as much knowledge as is possible.”

The capacity-building sessions are only a part of an overall League Development Programme and follow similar sessions conducted online last year for the JFF and with the participation of the then recently-established Professional Football Jamaica Limited, PFJL.

This week, the sessions are being delivered directly and in person with international experts to the clubs of the Jamaica Premier League, including the clubs for the 12th spot.

“Building the capacity of the Jamaica Premier League clubs is a vital step in the UEFA Assist League Development Programme. Strengthening their knowledge in key areas like income generation, governance and financial management will prove invaluable to ensuring the clubs remain sustainable over the long-term,” said Eva Pasquier, UEFA Head of International Relations.

“We are delighted to support this important initiative and help grow Jamaican football.”

Meanwhile, Howard McIntosh, ONE Caribbean Project Senior Manager at CONCACAF believes that strengthening the clubs’ capacity augurs well for regional football.

"Clubs are the heartbeat of football. Developing the clubs in Jamaica and the region is part of our commitment to improving the game in Concacaf. This is even more critical with the professional game,” he said.

“We remain committed to supporting our member associations and the clubs in our region. This workshop is one small demonstration of our continued support. I would encourage all the Clubs to take full advantage of this opportunity to learn about best practices in the professional game."

Cedella Marley, CEO of the Bob Marley Group of companies) currently in her seventh year as Global Ambassador for the Jamaica Women’s Football Programme, is now expanding her advocacy and commitment to the women’s game.

Her new Football is Freedom Initiative will provide tools and resources for the development and growth of women’s football throughout the Caribbean and Latin America as well as diaspora communities in the United States.

“In the process of my role as ambassador, I have taken note of the crucial role that football can play in empowering young women; through opportunities for education and professional advancement - both on and off the pitch,” Marley said.

“Through the Football is Freedom Initiative we can expand our efforts to other countries in the region and eventually beyond.”

The core mission of FIF is to support the development of women’s football at the grass-roots level in the region by funding existing programs and academies in the islands and in diaspora communities in Canada and the United States, supporting the growth and development of national teams by staging an annual exhibition match and mini-tournament to provide a quality training experience and raise funds that will go directly into the women’s programs of the participating federations as well as invest in the holistic wellness of the players by funding scholarships and programs that assist players with skill sets and tools to help them succeed outside of football once that time comes.

The launch of Football Is Freedom centres around an international friendly fundraising match between the national women’s teams of Jamaica and Costa Rica. In addition to helping fund the new initiative, a portion of the proceeds will be donated to each national team.

Marley is particularly pleased that Costa Rica will join Jamaica on the pitch at DRV PNK Stadium.

“In 2014, I was honoured to attend the FIFA U-17 WWC finals in Costa Rica (as the guest of the late Capt. Horace Burrell). The Costa Rican federation's investment in women's football has helped to inspire my own ideas about the impact that the women’s game could have once given the proper support. Having two of our strongest female teams come together like this is a chance to demonstrate the potential depth and power of women’s football in this region,” she said.

The Reggae Girlz and Las Sele both arrive in South Florida on October 18 for a week of training and a two-game series. In adherence to FIFA- mandated COVID protocols, the delegations will be housed in protective isolation during the camp. The first match will be a closed-door scrimmage, and the finale will be a fundraising match open to the public. The camp is the result of a combined effort by the Bob Marley Foundation, Rita Marley Foundation, and Reggae Girlz Foundation.

The match is being presented by Cedella Marley in association with Black Tower Agency.

Costa Rican and Jamaican Federations expressed the importance of the upcoming camp and the initiative itself to women’s football in the region.

“For the Costa Rican Football Federation it is a true pleasure to be able to participate in the first edition of the "Football is freedom" Festival. From a sporting perspective, the fact that our female players can compete with a team of such high calibre as the Jamaican team is immensely important,” said Gustavo Araya, FEDEFUTBOL General Secretary.

“And of course, getting the chance to participate in the beginnings of what this foundation is going to do makes us proud. The first edition of this festival, set to be held in Florida, will be of utmost importance for our players as they look ahead to the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. We will also use this opportunity to show how a foundation like this can impact young girls and get them excited about sports.”

Meanwhile, JFF President Michael Ricketts commended Marley for the initiative that he said will prove to be invaluable.

“I would like to wholeheartedly commend and congratulate our Reggae Girlz Ambassador Cedella Marley and her team. “Football is Freedom” can only help to broaden the interest and quicken the expansion of women’s football in Jamaica and the wider region,” he said.

“We are particularly proud that the initiative is being launched around a camp and an international Friendly game involving the Reggae Girlz. This will serve as invaluable preparation for their World Cup Qualifiers which begin in November. The Jamaica Football Federation stands ready to offer whatever assistance necessary to ensure the success of this venture and we look forward to participating vibrantly going forward.

“On behalf of every aspiring female footballer throughout Jamaica, I wish this progressive vision every

success.”

In addition to the main event, Sunday’s festivities will include a pre-game kickoff party and fan zone experience with games, entertainment, and food trucks as well as a community marketplace showcasing small businesses and organizations from the South Florida diaspora communities.

There is also a musical halftime performance.

The event will also be sponsored by Visit Fort Lauderdale, KICS International, Bob Marley Foundation, and Riddims Marketing.

Tickets will be available through Ticketmaster beginning October 6th. For information about group ticket purchases please contact the production office directly via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

For vendor/food truck information please contact Riddims Marketing (954) 251-1643.

Further details about the event and the initiative are available in the Football Is Freedom app which

can be downloaded in the Google Play and I Tunes stores October 6th

.

Paul Hall has been appointed assistant coach to Reggae Boyz Head Coach Theodore Whitmore for the Gold Cup and the duration of the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers.

The Jamaica Football Federation has offered its congratulations to former Reggae Boy Wes Morgan, whose side Leicester City defeated a star-studded Chelsea 1-0 to win the FA Cup at Wembley on Saturday.

Youri Tielemans’ long-range strike in the 63rd minute was enough to give the Foxes a 1-0 victory over their more celebrated rivals.

“We are extremely happy for Wes,” said JFF President Michael Ricketts. “He has been a great soldier for Leicester City and a willing servant for Jamaica. There is no better way to bow out of the professional game than with a prestigious trophy. We wish nothing but the very best for him in the future.”

Morgan hinted at retirement following Saturday’s victory that gave Leicester City their first-ever hold on the trophy.

“Nothing’s been announced yet, I need to discuss it with the club, but I don’t think I’ve got too many more miles on the clock, we’ll say that,” said Morgan who played the last eight minutes of the match after being out with a back injury since December.

 “I wasn’t sure if I was going to make the squad. The gaffer asked me if I could make it on the bench and I said if I’m needed for the last 10 minutes, I’ll be available. We were 1-0 up and the last thing I expected a week ago was to be playing again, but I came on and now I have won the FA Cup.”

The FA Cup is the second major trophy captain Morgan has won with Leicester City. He lifted the English Premier League with the club in 2016.

Morgan made 30 appearances for the Reggae Boyz between 2013 and 2016.

 

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.

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz will play two international friendlies against Nigeria and the United States in June as the team begins preparations for the 2023 World Cup qualifiers that are scheduled to begin in November 2021.

Michael Ricketts, President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) said he is deeply saddened after learning of the sudden death of former National player, Tremaine “Tan Tan” Stewart. 

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.

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.

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 Jamaican government has ordered the immediate shutdown of the Reggae Boyz training camp at the Captain Horace Burrell Centre of Excellence at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus.

The demand has come in the wake of news that Jamaica recorded 263 new cases of infections, the highest numbers since the pandemic began almost a year ago. Jamaica has recorded more than 355 deaths in that time.

Recent reports also said a number of players in the camp have also been infected by the Covid-19 virus.

With those concerns in mind, Olivia Grange, Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport in a letter to the President of the Jamaica Football Federation, Michael Ricketts, is demanding that the un-authorized camp must cease with immediate effect.

She is also demanding that all participants in the camp remain at the facility to reduce the risk of infection and that the necessary application to host the camp be made to the Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

“We are now in receipt of the application for hosting the training camp to commence tomorrow, February 6, 2021, which was dated February 4, 2021,” the minister wrote.

“Please note that training cannot commence without the approval of the Director-General, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), with the Ministry of Health and Wellness advising that there is no breach and it is safe to resume. Therefore, there can be no training today or tomorrow and not until approval has been given.

“Therefore, there can be no training today or tomorrow and not until approval has been given.”

 

 

 

 

 

The Jamaica Football Federation and the Reggae Boyz made the first important move towards rapprochement and a unified, happy and prepared team leading into the World Cup qualifiers this September, said a statement from the JFF on Thursday.

The players are out of contract and both sides say they are willing to work as hard as possible to arrive at an agreement before the next FIFA window in March.

More than 20 players met with a committee put together by JFF President Michael Ricketts in what they described as a ‘very amicable atmosphere’ on Tuesday. 

The players agreed that the meeting went well and that it augurs well for future discussions.

"The players can confirm that we did in fact have discussions with the JFF on Tuesday,” the Reggae Boyz said in a statement obtained by Sportsmax.TV on Thursday.

“They have promised to share a draft contract, and we have asked that they give us two weeks after receipt of that contract for consultation and review. We consider this a step in the right direction".

The players, including captain Andre Blake and Damion Lowe, were presented with the current JFF financials and brought up to speed with the immediate to medium-term plans of the federation, the federation said.

“They were allowed as many questions as needed and then presented with documents which they will peruse among themselves for two weeks. Another meeting will be scheduled then.”

The JFF team was led by Head of the JFF Financial Committee Dennis Chung and was comprised of former President of the Cricket West Indies Dave Cameron, JFF Vice Presidents Raymond Anderson and Peter Reid as well as Technical Committee chairman and Chartered accountant Rudolph Speid.

Voting statutes under review at JFF

The issue regarding the number of delegates who vote at the Congress of the Jamaica Football Federation is under review for change, according to President the Jamaica Football Federation Michael Ricketts.

Ricketts was speaking at the Annual General Meeting held in St Mary last Saturday. “We have begun work on the revision of the statutes under the guidance of FIFA,” Ricketts said.

Discussions surrounding the issue began with a FIFA representative who visited the island in 2020.

Since then, FIFA has sent some proposals that are being examined by a task force that was established by the Board (JFF) and which has provided responses to FIFA. “This is a process that you as a delegate and the broader football fraternity will be actively involved in as decision-makers,” Ricketts said.

“I want to re-assure and commit that in the coming period through all means available to us, face to face, through town-hall meetings or virtually, stakeholders will be part of the process of discussion before the final decision at congress.”

There are a number of best practices that will be part of the process of the review.

Ricketts said a review of the definition of memberships with the aim of widening and deepening the current membership structure is taking place.  “The representation here at our annual general meeting as well as voting rights at Congress could change based on best practices,” Ricketts stated.

The change, to reduce the delegates from over 130 to the existing 13 was made under former president the late Captain Horace Burrell.

Mr. Ricketts also said that the ongoing review and consultation involves term limits.

 

 

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