No love lost, as Ricketts welcomes challenge from vice-president Anderson for JFF presidency

By August 17, 2023
JFF President Michael Ricketts (left) and current vice-president Raymond Anderson. JFF President Michael Ricketts (left) and current vice-president Raymond Anderson.

While his administration has had its fair share of negative highlights over the years, Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts believes they have done enough to retain power, as he welcomes the challenge from current vice-president Raymond Anderson for the top job.

In fact, Ricketts, who has been in power since 2017, promised to not only build on the Reggae Girlz tremendous success at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and, by extension, their legacy, but also sustained growth going forward, if re-elected.

Still, the strained relationship between his administration and various coaches and players of both the senior Reggae Boyz and Reggae Girlz team, in particular, cannot escape them and Ricketts knows he will have to convince more delegates than is customary, to vote in his favour.

Last year's changes to the JFF's constitutional reform will result in an increase in delegates from 13 –previously consisted solely of parish confederation presidents –to 56, comprising more stakeholders.

“The challenge from vice-president Anderson comes at a time when the JFF is doing so very well to the point where for the first time it has its own Tax Compliance Certificate which is among a number of significant strides that we have made over the years. We are very well current with our tax payments and that's something we haven't been able to do or say for so many years,” Ricketts told Sportsmax.tv.

“I would also refer to the success from the technical component of the programmes and the success from a financial standpoint. So, we really are on a track for greatness, especially having had Adidas, arguably one of the finest apparel manufacturers on board as our main sponsor. This is no ordinary feat to achieve this,” he added.

With elections due by November, Ricketts pledged to make inroads in areas where there have been shortfalls, namely a proper grassroots programme to ensure sustained development, as well as to iron out payment issues with the history-making Reggae Girlz, until then.

“So things are progressing, we've been getting a number of sponsors in recent times which shows that the JFF is doing something right. So for vice-president Anderson to contest for the position of President, I am not sure the timing is right.

“But I welcome whatever challenges there are. I know that the work has been done and I want to assure every single stakeholder that this is just the start of a number of initiatives that will impact the total well-being of every single boy or girl in this country,” Ricketts declared.

Anderson, who has served in previous administrations has the likes of former Cricket West Indies President Dave Cameron, Marketing Strategist Cecile Dennis, Kingston and St Andrew Football Association President Mark Bennett and St Thomas Football Association President Wayne Thompson, on his campaign team.

“Let's see what the outcome will be, I have the greatest respect for him [Anderson], I just hope that the people around him will maintain a level of professionalism and respect and not make derogatory comments. But there are no ill-feelings, just that the political battle lines have been drawn. So again, let's see what will happen from here on,” Ricketts stated.

That said, Ricketts heaped praises on the Lorne Donaldson-coached Reggae Girlz, who became the first Caribbean team –male or female –to make the knockout round of a World Cup since Cuba’s feat in 1938.

The Girlz held powerhouses France and Brazil to goalless stalemates and defeated Panama on their way to the Round of 16.

“This year certainly must go down as one of the most significant years in the history of football in this country. The achievements were absolutely wonderful and we must credit or technical staff or technical committees for the positive results that we got. The Girlz and more recently the Under-15 boys, really have done so very well,” the president noted.

“We are just very, very delighted and we must now put things in place to ensure that the legacy continues. I know this must provide some kind of a catalyst for every little girl or boy, who now really wants to play the sport of football. Congratulations and a big thank you again to all the stakeholders and all the sponsors, who contributed in so many ways to make the Reggae Girlz campaign the success that it was,” he ended.

Sherdon Cowan

Sherdon Cowan is a five-time award-winning journalist with 10 years' experience covering sports.

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