Last resort: Reggae Girlz W'Cup players says decision to withdraw from Gold Cup qualifying fixtures difficult but necessary

By October 21, 2023
Jamaica's Reggae Girlz Jamaica's Reggae Girlz file

Members of Jamaica’s senior Reggae Girlz FIFA Women’s World Cup squad remain resolute in their latest standoff with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), as they point out that withdrawing from the upcoming Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup qualifying fixtures was a last resort to “end the cycle of mistreatment” they have endured under the Michael Ricketts-led administration.

The Girlz in a widely circulated statement released via social media on Saturday, said the decision to bypass the October international window for games against Panama and Guatemala, was difficult but necessary, given the circumstances under which they were asked to report for duty.

Those circumstances to which the Girlz refer, include the fact that interim Head coach Xavier Gilbert was appointed late Thursday, a mere four days before the team is expected to arrive in Panama for the October 25 fixture.

Gilbert has since assembled a makeshift squad for that game as well as the October 29 meeting with Guatemala at the National Stadium.

“While this has been one of the hardest decisions we have had to make, we feel it is necessary to make such a drastic stance to put an end to the constant mistreatment we receive from the Jamaica Football Federation,” the statement said.

“As always, it is an honour and a privilege to represent Jamaica. It is our job to perform to the best of our ability and put all our efforts into representing our country, making our fans (and) loved ones at home and in the diaspora proud. Due to the current circumstances the Jamaica Football Federation has put us in, we would not be able to do our job,” they added.

Aside from the alleged short notice, the Girlz again called out the JFF for its “unprofessionalism” and disorganization in the way they communicate and, by extension, manage the country’s football affairs.

This, as contrary to reports that the JFF have paid World Cup money in full between Thursday and Friday, the Girlz reveal that they are yet to receive “full and correct payments” for their historic Round of 16 run at the global showpiece, coupled with “numerous outstanding bonuses” for last year’s qualification.

“We received information about our coaching staff, medical staff and equipment staff in an untimely manner and through unprofessional communication. We got confirmation our head coach three days prior to our report date through social media, despite our efforts to have direct communication with the JFF,” they shared.

“We have dealt with this lack of communication, poor organization, poor management and delayed payments from the JFF time and time again. For these reasons, we take our stance in solidarity with hope to end this cycle of mistreatment,” the Girlz noted.

The Girlz statement came as a direct response to a JFF release on Friday which stated that they have suspend any selection of the players in question until these issues are resolved.

“The JFF is uncomfortable with the response of the players and the non-attendance of the player representatives to a scheduled meeting. The JFF is eager to clear up all the concerns that team members may have in accordance with the contracts. If there is a grievance or concern, this must be placed squarely on the table to be addressed and documented to the JFF,” the country’s governing football body’s release stated.

Sherdon Cowan

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

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