JOA fires back: Denies JAAA's allegations, highlights support for Paris 2024

By June 26, 2024

In a fiery response early Wednesday morning, the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) addressed the explosive allegations made by veteran coach Glen Mills and Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) President Garth Gayle during a press conference on Monday. The JAAA officials had blasted the JOA's restrictions on the athlete-to-official ratio for the 2024 Paris Olympics, claiming the 14 allotted slots for team officials were grossly inadequate for the expected 60 track and field athletes. Mills also criticized the USD$40 per diem as insufficient, while Gayle described the JOA's relationship with the JAAA as "hostile" and said efforts to negotiate an increase in the number of officials to 17 had been futile.

The JOA labeled these remarks as "unfortunate and ill-conceived" and provided a comprehensive explanation of the process and regulations governing the allocation of officials for the Olympics. According to the JOA, it does not determine the number of officials for each sport. Instead, the Paris Organizing Committee of the Games uses a globally recognized team size formula based on the estimated number of athletes who qualify. Both the JAAA and Mills were aware of this process.

The number of officials may change depending on the number of athletes who meet qualification standards set by World Athletics. For example, failure to qualify for certain events, like the Men’s 4x400m relay, would reduce the number of officials allocated. The JAAA's request for 17 officials was based on an assumption of 70 athletes qualifying, whereas fewer athletes qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Games. The JOA emphasized that a larger team size results in a greater number of officials allotted, a fact that the JAAA and Mills were well-informed of.

JAAA President Garth Gayle

The JOA also addressed concerns regarding a training camp in Stuttgart, Germany, negotiated by the JAAA without JOA's prior knowledge or approval. The JOA had requested a detailed budget for the camp to ensure adherence to standard accounting regulations, but the JAAA allegedly failed to comply. Despite the JAAA's breach of transparency and standard accounting protocols, the JOA has continuously sought information to facilitate payment against invoices. The majority of requests from the JAAA reportedly related to cash, which the JOA found problematic due to the lack of detailed contractual arrangements.

In response to claims of hostility, the JOA highlighted two meetings with JAAA board members, during which progress and cordiality were noted, contrary to Gayle's assertions. The JOA also outlined several instances of financial support provided to the JAAA and track and field athletes. This included a $3,000,000 loan granted in 2017, $46,000,000 in bonuses and rewards for the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games, Olympic Solidarity Scholarships valued at over $25,000,000, and $6,500,000 in funding for five athletes preparing for Paris 2024. Additionally, the JOA has allocated $30,000,000 for the “Olympic Destiny” series and other events from 2021 to 2024.

Regarding the specific arrangements for Paris 2024, the JOA detailed several agreements made in response to JAAA's requests. These included a per diem of USD$40 per day, costs for extra luggage for each athlete and official, and seven personal coaches in addition to the 14 Primary Team Officials (PTO). The JOA also agreed to fund long layovers, including hotel accommodation, and provide phones, SIM cards, and rehydration requisites for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

Glen Mills 

The JOA concluded by urging JAAA officials to exercise caution and professionalism in their statements, emphasizing the importance of maintaining Jamaica's reputation. The JOA expressed gratitude to the athletes, coaches, sports administrators, stakeholders, and corporate personalities who supported their continued professionalism and vision for sport.

The battle between these two major sporting bodies is far from over, but the JOA's response aimed to set the record straight and reaffirm their commitment to supporting Jamaican athletics on the global stage.

 

 See full JOA statement below:

 The Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) notes the unfortunate and ill-conceived remarks, made recently at a press conference, by some officers of the Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association (JAAA) and the Honourable,  Glen Mills, in relation to the apex body’s treatment of matters concerning the sport of Track and Field, generally and in relation to the Paris 2024 Olympic Games specifically.

 

The facts are as follows:

 

  1. The JOA does not stipulate the number of persons a sport can have as officials on its team, which includes managers coaches, physiotherapists and massage therapists. The Paris Organising Committee of the Games, in keeping with well-established and known regulations regarding Olympic Games, uses what is commonly and globally referred to as the team size formula by which it calculates and determines the number of officials allowable based on an estimate of the number of athletes who are expected to qualify. Both the JAAA and Mr. Mills are aware of this fact.

 

  1. The amount determined by the Paris Local Organising Committee of the Games may increase or decrease depending on the number of athletes who meet qualification standards set by World Athletics and who then are named by the JAAA after the national championships. For example, in the event Jamaica does not qualify for the Men’s 4 X 40OM relay, this will adversely affect the number of officials allocated to the sport.   Both the JAAA and Mr. Mills are aware of this fact. The seventeen officials requested by the JAAA are predicated on the assumption of seventy athletes qualifying for this Olympic games whereas in respect of the 2021 Tokyo games Jamaica had less.

 

  1. Consequently, it is clear, as night follows the day, that the larger the size of the team, the greater will be the number of officials allotted. Both Mr. Mills and the JAAA are aware of this fact.

 

  1. The JAAA, without the prior knowledge of the JOA, negotiated a contract with a third party to host a camp in Stuttgart, Germany, and, thereafter, called upon the JOA to foot the bills when it knew that the JOA had previously indicated that a detailed budget of any proposed camp should be submitted for approval before any commitment was made to the third party.

 

  1. Notwithstanding that breach of basic transparency and of standard principles of accounting protocols, the JOA made repeated requests of the JAAA, verbally in meetings and in writing (including through JOA’s Games Manager with responsibility for track and field, Olympian Mr. Donald Quarrie) to furnish the JOA with details of the contractual arrangements so as to enable the JOA to determine  payment against invoices in keeping with standard accounting regulations and practices of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Olympic movement. The JOA has noted that the majority of requests made by the JAAA for the Camp relates to cash. Regrettably, to date, the JAAA has failed and/or refused to comply which unfortunately has placed them irretrievably at risk.

 

  1. Two meetings were held with board members of the JAAA on which occasions Mr. Garth Gayle was absent and Mr. Ludlow Watts was present and the JAAA attendees openly expressed their satisfaction with the progress made and cordiality of the talks which defies Mr. Gayle’s assertion of hostility.

 

  1. The statement made by the JAAA, through its Treasurer, Mr. Ludlow Watts, that the JOA has been and is undermining the Association and track and field, is therefore, to say the least, comical and more so in light of the following:

 

  1. In 2017, when the JAAA was strapped for cash in honouring its obligations in respect of a games, it approached the JOA through Mr. Garth Gayle, its then General Secretary who at that time was also the Second Vice President of the JOA, pleading for assistance to which the JOA, without reservation, acceded and granted the JAAA a loan of $3,000,000.00 which was repaid after the due date.

 

  1. The JOA’s leveraging partnership funds in the amount of $46,000,000.00 in bonuses and rewards in relation to the Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games for the benefit of athletes and coaches of track and field, which was pioneering in many respects. The JAAA is aware of this fact and welcomed the initiative which the JOA took and will continue to take in the interest of athletes and the sport of track and field.

 

  1. The award made to five track and field athletes, through the Olympic Solidarity Scholarship since 2018 was valued at over $25,000,000.00. The beneficiaries were Demish Gay, Sashalee Forbes, Daniel Thomas-Dodd, O’Dayne Richards and Kai Chang all of whom were approved by the JAAA.

 

  1. The JOA’s immediate response to the appeal to it by athletes for help in their preparation for the 2024 Paris Olympic Games by providing funding, to five of them, totaling $6,500,000.00. The beneficiaries are Shaneika Richards, Malik James-King, Nyoka Clunis, Samantha Hall and Christoff Bryan

 

  1. The JOA’s financial support of $30,000,000.00 for the period 2021 to 2024 which witnessed the successful inauguration of a series of meets in 2021 which it called “Olympic Destiny” in preparing athletes for the Tokyo Olympic Games;  financial support of  the Milo Western Relays and a Jamalco Track Meet;  financial support, through a partnership agreement executed with Supreme Ventures Limited, of the various National Trials from 2021 to 2024 of which fact the JAAA is fully aware. For this year’s JAAA national trials the JOA will contribute $5,000,000.00.

 

  1. The JOA’s funding of the installation of and repairs to the lights at the Usain Bolt Track in response to pleas made to it by athletes, initiated by Olympian Fedrick Dacres;

 

  1. The JOA’s approval of several additional requests made by the JAAA regarding the Paris 2024 Olympic Games namely:

 

  1. payment of a per diem of US$40.00 per day during the games which was specifically requested by the JAAA to which the JOA agreed 100%;

 

  1. payment of the costs for extra pieces of luggage for each athlete and official which was specifically requested by the JAAA to which the JOA agreed 100%;

 

  • allotment of seven personal coaches which were specifically requested by the JAAA to which the JOA agreed 100% and these were in addition to the fourteen Primary Team Officials (PTO) allotted to the JAAA;

 

  1. confirmation of JOA’s advice to the JAAA that, in the event the sport has more athletes qualifying, then the Paris Olympic Organising Committee of the games would increase the number of the PTOs based on the team size calculator operated by it and vice versa;

 

  1. JOA’s full agreement to fund long layovers (to include hotel accommodation)  for athletes and officials travelling to the Paris 2024 Olympic games; and

 

  1. JOA’s agreement to JAAA’s specific request to provide phones, sim cards and rehydration among other requisites for the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.
  1. In the face of such irrefutable facts, the JOA finds it inconceivable and quite disturbing that some executive members of the JAAA and Mr. Glen Mills could be so irresponsible in their statements. Accordingly, we encourage them, in the interest of their sport and the reputation of Jamaica, to be circumspect in speech and professional in their undertakings.

 

  1. The JOA notes the consistent tendency of some members of the executives of the JAAA to misrepresent facts for their own purposes. The JOA invites caution.

 

  1. Finally, the JOA expresses its heartfelt appreciation to the innumerable athletes, coaches, sport administrators and stakeholders and corporate personalities who, since the very unfortunate remarks, have communicated their unqualified support of our continued professionalism and vision for sport.

 The Jamaica Olympic Association

June 25, 2024.

                        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leighton Levy

Leighton Levy is a journalist with 28 years’ experience covering crime, entertainment, and sports. He joined the staff at SportsMax.TV as a content editor two years ago and is enjoying the experience of developing sports content and new ideas. At SportsMax.tv he is pursuing his true passion - sports.

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