February 16, 2020 at 1:26 am #96
Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz have come out swinging against the governing Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), accusing the organisation’s top brass of lacking in basic principles of trust.
Speaking with the Jamaica Observer yesterday, elected team spokesman Shaun Francis says his colleagues are “frustrated” with what they deemed a lack of trust, transparency and communication from the JFF.
The Boyz are also up in arms with delays in payment of outstanding monies owed from the Concacaf Gold Cup of 2019 and their final two matches of the Concacaf Nations League.
“There are three very important issues that we have with the JFF. One is trust as the players do not trust the JFF; the second is transparency as they have not been forthcoming with information. And the third issue is communication as they do not communicate with us in terms of what’s going on.
“And I feel if we can’t have trust, transparency and communication, that means the relationship between the players and the JFF is not on the right track, and we are trying to build better relations with the JFF,” said Francis.
When reached for comment, JFF General Secretary Dalton Wint challenged the players’ claim.
“That’s not true as we have always maintained contact through WhatsApp, e-mail and phone calls, so we do communicate with them.
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“Furthermore, I can’t see why they shouldn’t trust the JFF as we have sat with them and spoken to them frankly. The problem is when you are talking to people and they are not hearing what they want to hear, they will take all intents and purposes out of context,” said Wint.
Francis — a veteran of the senior Boyz and whose comments have the expressed backing of team captain and goalkeeper Andre Blake, defender Damion Lowe, and midfielder Je-Vaughn Watson — admitted that the players have received part payment for their fourth-place finish at the Gold Cup.
“In terms of the Gold Cup money, I can’t even give you a percentage of what was paid over because not everyone has received the same amount. Let’s say that someone may get 50 per cent of the money, another person may get 30 per cent, and someone another figure.
“For the Nations League, we have been paid some money, but not for the two games that were played in November, and no one has been paid the appearance fee…the only thing players have seen is per diem, and still we have not received 100 per cent of the per diem,” Francis shared.
Wint countered that claim by saying all players have received 50 per cent, and in some cases more, of the Gold Cup money. The JFF had agreed to pay each player US$2,000 per game for their five outings at Concacaf’s flagship tournament.
“We have paid at least 50 per cent to the players, and Fifa has some money for us, and as soon as we get that we will address the issue of the Boyz. I don’t want to commit as to when we will be able to make another payment, but it will be done as soon as we receive that money from Fifa,” Wint noted.
The chief administrator admits the Gold Cup was a big loss to the JFF “of nearly US$300,000”.
“We suffered great losses at the Gold Cup with per diem, match fees, extra flights, meals and extra rooms, plus we were fined US$2,000 for being late for a Concacaf flight out of Jamaica,” Wint explained.
With only about “US$35,000” coming in from the Gold Cup after honouring its obligations, the JFF was forced to find another source of funding, leaving it to turn to Fifa inflows.
For finishing fourth at the Gold Cup, the payout is said to be about US$150,000.
The Boyz say they feel they are getting the proverbial runaround when it comes to a schedule to get the remainder of their monies.
“The Gold Cup was played in July last year and they keep promising us the money, telling us we would get it at a particular time, and when each deadline date passes, they just give us another one, so all we have been getting are empty promises,” said Francis.
“They keep saying that Fifa will give them money on a certain day, and that day keeps being pushed back…they keep saying that Fifa owes them money, and if Fifa owes them money that means Fifa owes other countries money and I don’t see that happening,” noted Francis.
The Louisville City FC defender says it’s the collective view of players that the JFF can pay, but has refused to.
“The players feel the JFF has the money to pay, especially the Gold Cup money, because this is not money coming from the JFF…with the Nations League, that might be different.
“So as players, we think the JFF has the money, but is using it to do other things, and not being straightforward with us to say what they are using that money to do,” he stated.
Money aside, Francis said he and his teammates are concerned about other fundamental issues.
“There are so many issues, because we have not touched on working conditions, flight situations, hotel accommodations.
“When you look at them trying to get other players to represent the country, including young players, when they come into camp and see the disorganisation and how the organisation treats the players, then they will be disheartened,” the 33-year-old reasoned.
Francis, who has had a successful stint with MLS outfit San Jose Earthquakes, says it will be to the benefit of the JFF and the upcoming World Cup qualifying programme for all outstanding concerns to be addressed before a ball is kicked.
“This is a very important year for the players and the country on a whole, so you don’t want to go into games and the World Cup qualifiers having discussions about money not being paid…we can’t be going into these situations with distractions, so the players would definitely like the Gold Cup and Nations League monies to be paid off because there is no need for us to be talking about that this year, because this is a matter that should have been dealt with last year.
“It is very frustrating and is a strain on the players because when we come to represent our country, we are actually leaving our families and clubs to go wherever we need to. When you leave your club you are putting yourself in a bad situation in terms of giving someone else the chance to play in your position,” Francis asserted.
Wint says he fully embraces the importance of an amicable relationship between the JFF and players.
“We have to have a reciprocating relationship; we have to communicate with information flowing both ways. We have to improve our relationship as we see them [players] as integral to the JFF,” he said.
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