FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE. The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is aware of certain information in the public domain, and would like to clarify the facts. Our stance is always that we do not discuss specifics of any contract with employees, especially as most contracts have a grievance procedure outlined, and the JFF has an obligation to ensure that we are in strict compliance with the procedures laid out in the contract. This is the reason many times behind our reluctance to discuss the issues publicly, and certainly first, as despite the public criticism many times, we have an obligation to observe the contracts terms we have agreed to.
We would first like to say that we have always been, and continue to be, grateful to the Girlz and staff from the FIFA Women’s World Cup (FWWC) campaign, who have together done the JFF and country proud in the historic achievements.
We are especially proud of this achievement, as the JFF, as we all know, is a Federation in a country that has its own economic and social challenges, and has had it difficult to ensure that we provide the best showing available, from the inadequate financial resources. Nonetheless, based on the support of our sponsors – FIFA, Adidas, Bob Marley Foundation, Corporate Sponsors, Reggae Girlz Foundation, and the Government of Jamaica – and our determination to support the Senior National Women’s Team (SNWT), we have spent close to US$4M on the campaign to, and during, the FWWC. While this has come at significant financial strain to the JFF, this is something that we would gladly do again, as we recognize the importance of football to social transformation for the people and the country.
The following outlines the position re the allegations being discussed in the public domain, which we believe we should address the surrounding facts.
The JFF had made a commitment, through our President, at a meeting earlier this year with the SNWT, that once we received the prize money from FIFA, all the debts (dating back from 2022) under the contractual would be liquidated. We have been successful in doing so. We would like to clarify that the only money that was owed to the Reggae Girls, up to last week, is twenty percent of the JFF prize money from the 2023 Women’s World Cup. The reason for this amount being outstanding, is that although the contract stated that an amount of twenty percent is to be paid to the players (including those playing in the qualification matches), it did not specify how the amount is to be distributed amongst the players. JFF reached out to the players weeks ago to ask them how the twenty percent should be divided between them, and just last week we suggested a formula, in order to expedite the process. We did not receive a response and so advised that we would start processing along the lines of the formula we had put forward. This was done.
It is important to note that although, the total prize money from FIFA was approximately US$1.8 million, of that amount, there is a reimbursement that the JFF is in the process of claiming. The players are insisting on twenty percent of the $1.8 million, and we have advised that we can only pay out the incentive on the amount of $1.2 million received so far. Apart from the inability to afford to pay out funds we have not received, this is also consistent with the contract that says the JFF must pay out based on what is paid to it. Of course, as soon as the reimbursement is received those funds will be immediately disbursed according to the formula we have paid out on. We have been in discussions with FIFA and we hope to in the earliest possible time resolve the final amounts and pay the portion due to the Girlz immediately. This will ensure that we have nothing outstanding, as we have already paid up the per diem amounts for the Olympic Qualifiers recently played.
The players also asked about who would comprise the coaching staff, which was a condition of responding on being available. The players were advised that the JFF would have a full support staff in place and that Xavier Gilbert was back on board, but not in the Head Coach capacity at that time. We never considered that it was important to communicate the names of the coaching support staff prior to being advised of availability. This is not a requirement under the contract, which speaks to specific conditions surrounding availability, consistent with the FIFA rules.
It should be noted that the team doctor, the team manager, the team masseur and the equipment manager are also back on board. Contracts were also offered to four other staff members, who advised that they were unavailable for October. So, the JFF has always sought to retain the support staff, contrary to discussions in the public sphere.
In response to the travel arrangements, we advised that this will be honored in accordance with the contracts that were signed. The contract states the standard travel category is economy but that the JFF reserves the right to determine the travel category based on circumstances. It is important to note that the JFF has always facilitated upgrades given the circumstances and requests from clubs and the coach, as is provided for in the contract, and we have also always at a minimum sought to place players in premium economy.
Given the response and the contractual requirements, The JFF had written to the Girlz individually advising that we are suspending their selection indefinitely, until we work through the grievance procedure outlined in the contract. We will work to ensure that we go through the contractual grievance procedure, so that we can have final resolution re the issues raised. The JFF always wants to resolve any issues with our stakeholders for a win-win solution.
We want to again mention that we are grateful for the contribution that has been made to the national women’s programme, and as is evidenced by the amount it has cost the JFF, and our follow through to pay off all outstanding amounts to the players, this shows the commitment that the JFF has to the programme.
At this time also we want to call on all Jamaica to support the SNWT as they embark on their two upcoming qualifiers for the inaugural Women Gold Cup tournament in 2024. We wish them the best and want to assure them that we are focused on providing the support they need to give their best effort as they represent their country and bring us pride.
JAMAICA FOOTBALL FEDERATION