Jamaica’s football programmes are under threat from the pandemic now affecting the world says Jamaica Football Federation president, Michael Ricketts.

With the world’s top leagues either cancelled or suspended, the JFF has had to follow suit, suspending its leagues as well as a friendly against Catalonia courtesy of travel restrictions to that country.

“It is affecting the football product itself, because we are not playing any football, and our overseas assignments, we have to be putting them on hold,” said Ricketts, before looking at all the short-term issues the organization has faced.

“Our girls, by now, would have been in Mexico preparing for the Concacaf Under-17 World Cup qualifiers. We would be on our way now to look at some English-based players and then move over to Spain for our friendly match against Catalonia,” said Ricketts.

“We were having discussions for a high-profile game in June in New York, and that had to be put on hold,” he said. “This has set us back in a huge way, but it is a pandemic and it is affecting the entire world.”

According to Ricketts, the JFF will have to rush to get games as soon as it is safe to do so in a bid to get back on track.

“We are definitely going to have some catching up to do and, of course, we will now have to hastily get some games after we get permission from our parent organisation, and from the Ministry of Health and Wellness,” Ricketts said.

“For now, we are at a standstill and we just have to be very hopeful. I am pretty certain that, in a few days, the Government and Ministry of Health will be doing further assessments and will certainly advise us accordingly.”

World football governing body, FIFA, and The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) have combined forces to come up with amended Statutes as part of a bid to improve the governance of the sport at all levels.

A release from the JFF said earlier this month, Sarah Solemale, Senior Manager Governance, led discussions with the JFF hierarchy about its statutes.

Also at that meeting were Director of Caribbean Member Associations Affairs, Horace Reid, and One CONCACAF and Caribbean Projects Senior Manager, Howard McIntosh.

According to Solemale, FIFA, has since 2016, been targeting improved governance structures throughout the organisation, first within FIFA itself, and then throughout its member associations.

FIFA wants legislative, strategic, operational, and separation of powers among its member states and wants these changes to be made within the JFF before December 2020.

According to the release, the following was discussed:

 

  1. Who constitutes a member of the Federation and by so should be represented at the Congress. In this regard, the representation of regional bodies (parishes); interest groups (schools, referees etc) and the professional league was the recommendation from FIFA. By extension, the percentage representation of these groups would have to be determined. All members must be legal entities.

 

  1. The role and composition of the Board of Directors. On this FIFA recommended for discussion that three important areas of expertise must be represented on the Board: legal, finance and commercial. The recommendation is also that Board members cannot be delegates at Congress as this represents a major conflict of interest and also that there be a special focus on the competencies and efficiencies at the Board level. The composition must be guided by the question, how can the Board of Directors be made efficient to serve the development of the sport. In this regard, the Board also needed to operate on the principle of separation of powers. FIFA is also being insistent on gender inclusion on the Board and this should be clearly stated in the revised Statutes. Term limits for the President and members of the Board are also to be decided.

 

  1. The role of the General Secretariat: Emphasis was placed on the critical need for separation of powers between the Board of Directors and the General Secretariat and the need for staff expertise in the areas of Finance, Legal, Commercial and Technical. The General Secretary is the chief executive of the Secretariat and is required to provide operational leadership based on a clear Job Description and agreed to competencies, in carrying out the policies decided on by the Board of Directors. Expertise in audit and compliance was also highlighted as mandatory.

 

  1. Standing Committees: The role and composition of Standing Committees and in particular the independent committees (Judicial; Disciplinary; Appeals; Audit and Compliance and Electoral) was also discussed.

 

FIFA will send revised statutes to the JFF in time for the organisation to do a review and to dispense information on the changes to its parish associations ahead of the JFF's Congress at the end of the year where the new statutes will be ratified.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), the Kingston and St. Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) have released statements of condolence in the wake of the tragic death of former national football player Irvino English.

One of the first things that Rudolph Speid wants to get done as he gets set to head up the Jamaica Football Federation’s Technical Committee is to see the organisation’s teams better prepared for each opponent they come across.

According to Speid, who along with Dennis Chung, were appointed to the JFF board on Tuesday, a lack of resources within the JFF was used too often as a crutch by the organisation’s administrators and he intended to stop it.

“We know we have to work within the resources that we have but a lot of the times we throw up our hands and don’t go all the way because of a lack of resources. Those are some of the things that we have to try and eliminate,” said Speid after the press conference where he was appointed.

Chung was chosen to lead the organisation’s Finance Committee.

Speid, former head of the Kingston & St Andrew Football Association and JFF Treasurer, said he believed the teams went into games with less than the information about their opponents than they should have.  

“A lot of the times I don’t think we analyze our opponents properly,” he said.

The job of doing this analysis, Speid believes, falls to the Technical Committee and the act could make all the difference to the success of the country.

“That is something that we’re going to be doing going forward and on a regular basis so we have a better understanding,” he said.

Speid also indicated that there was much to be done by the Technical Committee if its tenure was to be successful.

“Yeah, it is a lot of work if we do it properly but I am committed to doing it properly,” he said.

Speid is also president of the Red Stripe Premier League outfit, Cavalier SC.

Rudolph Speid and Dennis Chung have been appointed members of the Board of Directors of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

Hubert Busby, who had the unfortunate task of leading the Reggae Girlz in their failed bid for a place at the Tokyo Olympics this month, believes that despite the obvious regression since a historic World Cup berth last year, there is hope for the future of the programme.

According to Busby, while investment in the Reggae Girlz is important, even more focus should be paid to the younger members of the programme, to the youth.

“I do think there needs to be some true strategic planning and putting things in place that are vitally important, not just for the [senior] women's programme, but the youth programme as well,” said Busby in an interview with Jamaican newspaper The Jamaica Observer.

According to Busby, he would want to continue as Reggae Girlz head coach, saying he would be honoured were the conditions right.

The conditions certainly were not right when Busby led the team into the final round of CONCACAF Olympic qualifiers, with the Reggae Girlz going down 1-0 to Mexico before receiving a 9-0 thrashing from Canada. There was some joy for the Reggae Girlz though, as their final game of the round was a 7-0 demolition of St Kitts & Nevis.

“Obviously if the conditions are right and there's a serious collaborative effort for the programme to progress, obviously I would once again be honoured to lead my country in this role,” he said.

The Reggae Girlz had one camp ahead of the qualifiers, largely because the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the coaching staff which took the Girlz to the World Cup, were at war.

Head coach Hue Menzies had resigned and his assistant Lorne Donaldson, who should have been a shoo-in for the top job, had enough reservations that his employers ultimately went in another direction with Busby. Donaldson consequently resigned having not known what his position with the team was.

“If you truly look at other national teams and how far they've come, all you have to do is look how much investment has gone into the youth programmes to see what comes through. So I'd love to be a part of the solution to make that happen in Jamaica, and look at how we can kind of formulate and work with those local coaches and the director of football and the federation to figure out how we continue to develop players on the island who are ready to play at international level,” said Busby.

The Jamaica Football Federation’s issues with the Reggae Girlz and who should coach them are not yet over with the Sunday night announcement that veteran coach, Lorne Donaldson has quit.

According to reports in the media, Donaldson left his post as Reggae Girlz assistant coach with immediate effect.

His resignation letter suggests the reason for the resignation falls in line with an earlier parting of the ways, by his boss, Hue Menzies.

"This decision is primarily based on the questionable integrity and lack of professionalism within the leadership of the JFF," said Donaldson, who is also executive director of coaching at Real Colorado Soccer.

Menzies had resigned, suggesting the JFF were not professional in handling contract negotiations.

Donaldson, who was seen as frontrunner to take Menzies place had said he would not take the head coach job unless things changed.

Now he wants nothing to do with the job completely.

The resignation also comes days after the JFF announced an interim head coach appointment for Hubert Busby, who had been the Reggae Girlz goalkeeping coach.

There was also the appointment of long-time Boys’ Town coach Andrew Price as an assistant, as the Reggae Girlz take on the second round of Olympic Qualifying next month.

Donaldson’s letter did not make mention of the fact that an assistant was hired while he was substantively in that role but his last tour with the women’s programme was to hold a training camp for under-17 and under-20 Reggae Girlz last month.

Before that Donaldson took up head coaching during the Reggae Girlz successful first round of Olympic qualifying, while Menzies took time off.

Here is Donaldson’s full resignation letter

Dear Mr. [Michael] Ricketts:

After careful consideration, I must immediately tender my resignation from all duties associated with the Jamaica Football Federation women’s program. This decision is primarily based on the questionable integrity and lack of professionalism within the leadership of the JFF.

I’m honored to have served Jamaica’s football community for over 45 years and will continue to do so in many capacities. However, I will not in clear conscience, continue to work for an organization that blatantly disregard the sacrifices of the coaching staff and the Reggae Girlz. As coaches, we have overcome seemingly insurmountable challenges, but jointly we successfully led our women’s senior team to their first FIFA Women’s World Cup in history. This was a tremendous feat and one for which we should all be incredibly proud.

I thank the JFF, Hue Menzies and my peers, Reggae Girlz Ambassador, Cedella Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation who were instrumental in bringing financial support and reviving awareness through social media about the plight of the Reggae Girlz. I also thank members of the Reggae Girlz Foundation, our many sponsors and the Jamaican supporters worldwide for their unwavering support.

Most importantly, I sincerely thank all members of the Reggae Girlz teams for their dedication and commitment while overcoming adversity in challenging conditions as without them these accomplishments would not have been possible.

Jamaica Football Federation president, Michael Ricketts, held nothing back recently when he slammed former Reggae Girlz head coach Hue Menzies for being unprofessional.

Menzies, the coach who led the Reggae Girlz to a historic World Cup Qualification earlier this year, quit the team via the media recently, citing numerous problems with remuneration and issues with getting information about a new contract, which elapsed earlier this year.

Ricketts, however, said Menzies has been less than truthful about his issues with the JFF and pointed out that the nature of his resignation was not inkeeping with proper protocol.

“If I were to say the things that Menzies have done, it would cause all of us major embarrassment. We’ll refrain from saying anything else; just to say that Menzies up to now has not yet said to the JFF that here’s my letter of resignation, but he tells the world and every single media house that he has resigned so we take it that he has resigned so we move on,” said Ricketts on Jamaican radio station, Hitz 92 FM.

Menzies had missed the first stage of the Reggae Girlz’ Olympic qualifiers earlier this year, saying he would not coach the team until the JFF resolved their issues with him.

According to Ricketts, his organization were only made aware that this was the case, again through the media.

“Just before the start of the preliminary round of the World Cup Qualifiers, Minister (Olivia Grange) and I were on the phone and got in contact with the coach to have a three-way discussion. Menzies said to us that he could not come to the first stage of the qualifiers because he had a board meeting to attend. The next day Menzies was on the radio saying that he was not coming because the JFF owed him money,” said the JFF president.

The announcement of a new coach, the JFF has said, will take place before the end of the year.

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts says his organization will be announcing a new head coach for the Reggae Girlz in a matter of days.

According to Ricketts, the JFF’s technical committee, which has the prevue of selecting a coach, will make its decision after discussions with stakeholders on Tuesday.

According to Ricketts, the decision will be made to replace former head coach Hue Menzies, who announced his intention to leave the programme via the media more than a week ago, despite not receiving a formal resignation.

“We haven’t gotten anything official,” said Ricketts.

“But he has gone public [with his resignation], so we just have to take it that he will not be a part of the programme,” he said.

Menzies announced his intention to leave the programme after four years, citing a lack of communication from the JFF regarding a new contract that had expired in August, as well as unpaid salaries and reimbursements.

Menzies had refused to coach the team until all unpaid monies were sent his way.

The former coach’s stance meant he missed the first round of Olympic Qualifiers with the Reggae Girlz.

Those qualifiers still went well under the guidance of assistant coach Lorne Donaldson, with the final round of qualifiers set to take place from January 28 to February 9, 2020.

Donaldson’s performance is reported to have made him frontrunner for the job, however, the assistant has hinted at reservations about taking the new post.

Reggae Girlz assistant coach Lorne Donaldson believes the women’s programme in Jamaica has taken a hit with the departure of World Cup qualifying coach, Hue Menzies.

Menzies, on Tuesday, announced his intention to leave the programme after disputes with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) seemed not to have a resolution in sight.

According to Menzies, the JFF has not paid money due to him in his contract, failed to communicate with him regarding a new contract after his expired in August, and have not reimbursed him for expenses incurred on the job.

Donaldson, himself, has said he would be unwilling to take up the top post, coaching the Girlz, unless there were guarantees that some of the issues Menzies spoke about were addressed.

“Menzies not being around puts a hole in the programme; the staff is really bummed because we did a lot of work within the last five years, some of it is work done behind the scenes that people don't know about, and we scraped and fought with these kids. So Hue not being around is a big setback for this programme,” said Donaldson.

The executive director of coaching at Real Colorado Soccer also believes there is a lot of uncertain surrounding the programme with just a couple of months to go before the Reggae Girlz take on the final round of Olympic Qualification.

“The crucial stage of the Olympic qualifiers is coming up, but we already messed that up because we had a game against the USA and we didn't take the game. We would have played the number one team in the world and we didn't take the game, so all this stuff is a setback for us,” said Donaldson.

“Now we missed the FIFA window; no games and I don't know when we are going to have any friendly games or camps because everything seems to be very difficult. I know Costa Rica wants to play us in January, and that's kind of late, but Costa Rica is still waiting for them to respond, so I don't know,” he said.

Still, Donaldson believes there is much promise in the Reggae Girlz programme and wants to ensure that that promise is fulfilled.

“We are going to concentrate on the players because we actually owe it to them. [Hubert] Busby and I, we made a commitment to some of the parents and players for the U-20s and U-17s,” said Donaldson.

“Again, it is going to be difficult trying to do the U-17s and the U-20s because nobody seems like they are interested on that side. There is interest elsewhere, but we have to find the right people who want to see women's football succeed in Jamaica. Right now it is not happening,” he said.

Assistant coach of Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz, Lorne Donaldson, does not want to step into the vacancy left by the departing Hue Menzies if women’s football in the country is treated the same way it has been.

Jamaica Football Federation General Secretary, Dalton Wint, says he has received nothing in writing from former Reggae Girlz coach, Hue Menzies.

Despite numerous successes in recent times, Reggae Girlz head coach, Hue Menzies has decided he can no longer continue in his capacity after a protracted dispute did not seem to be coming to an amicable solution.

President of the Jamaica Football Federation Michael Ricketts has described as “another positive for Jamaica’s football’, the fact that Khadijah 'Bunny' Shaw has been named among the world’s top 100 female footballers by the UK Guardian.

A Jamaica Under-22 team will take on Japan at the Transcosmos Stadium in Nagasaki in a friendly scheduled for December 28, for the Kirin Challenge Cup 2019.

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