JCF clears air about falling-out with national representative Palmer and coach Farrier

By Sports Desk November 16, 2023
Dahlia Palmer Dahlia Palmer

Jamaica Cycling Federation (JCF) has moved to clear the air regarding matters involving national cyclist Dahlia Palmer and the absence of her coach Robert Farrier from the Pan American Games, where she won bronze in the women's keirin final in Chile recently.

The JCF in a widely circulated release started by addressing the issue of Palmer finding US$4,742.50 ($738,000) to fund her way to the Pan American Track Cycling Championships (PATCC). The federation pointed out that it is not unusual for any national cyclist to partly or completely self-fund their trips to various competitions as the federation is not able to fully fund all cyclists to all the needed competitions overseas.

It added that Palmer is one of twenty National Cyclists selected for national duties in 2023 across both cycling disciplines (track and road) and based on the recommendation of the JCF, she has been the recipient of the Solidarity Scholarship funded by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and managed through the Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA).

"Dahlia has been a beneficiary of this scholarship for two consecutive Olympic cycles and the sole cyclist to benefit from this funding valued at USD15,000 annually. The federation has funded Dahlia Palmer to UCI Nations Cup appearances since late 2018 through to March 2022, totaling to amounts more than USD $37,345, not including the Solidarity funds," the JCF release said.

"It is important to note that in August 2023 the federation obtained sponsorship from the cycling community and was able send a Junior cyclist to the World Junior Track Cycling Championships. This was done to fulfill the mandatory requirement of the world cycling governing body UCI, in which Jamaica’s participation in this event will enable our elite track cyclist to participate in the World Track Cycling Championships in 2024 in the event they qualify, this includes Ms. Palmer," it stated.

Where Palmer’s personal coach, Farrier is concerned, the JCF explained that he is not a member of the federation and its appointed coaches. Farrier has also been said to have openly discredited, belittled, and denigrated the JCF board, local coaches and track athletes, which the JCF said resulted in his suspension and, by extension, his absence from the PanAm Games.

"Ahead of the team’s departure for the Central American and Caribbean (CAC) Games, a team meeting was convened. The national coach, members of the JCF board, athletes and their personal managers/coaches were in attendance. Mr. Farrier stated that if he was not selected to attend the games as coach, then Ms. Dahlia Palmer would not attend the games. He further
threatened to embarrass the JCF and the JOA before abruptly leaving the meeting, when told that the national coach selected to manage the team is the sole official from the federation based on the games accreditation calculator as stated by the JOA.

"Mr. Farrier was then advised that based on his behavior the JCF would not consider him for national accreditation to accompany selected cyclist to represent Jamaica internationally for a minimum of 12-months and asked that he provide a written apology to both the JOA and the JCF. A suspension of this nature is in keeping with code of conduct guidelines set out by the global cycling body UCI. Subsequently the JOA requested a meeting with the JCF and Dahlia Palmer to discuss her withdrawal from the CAC games. Ms. Palmer refused to attend the meeting without her coach, Mr. Farrier," the JCF explained.

According to the JCF, on September 20, 2023, an attorney representing Palmer and Farrier contested the issue of his suspension and refusal of accreditation to the PanAm Games.

Following her medal winning exploit, Palmer expressed some semblance of fulfilment due to the fact that Farrier had to give her instructions while watching the Games on television in Trinidad and Tobago, where they are based.

However, the JCF explained that his absence could have been avoided.

"Information regarding the threat of a lawsuit Palmer/Farrier vs JCF was posted by SportsMax.TV on September 22, and a TVJ feature on September 27, which included an interview with Palmer/Farrier’s attorney. There were exchanges between both attorneys on the matter. The JCF agreed to accredit Mr. Farrier on condition that he provides a written apology to the JCF and the JOA for his behavior, and that this should be shared in the same medium in which the matter was made public by Palmer/Farrier themselves or their respective agents.

"Mr. Farrier refused to issue a public apology and, as such was not accredited to accompany Ms. Palmer for the PanAm Games. The national coach, Carlton Simmonds, was accredited to attend the PanAm Games to support Ms. Palmer. Ms. Palmer, however, refused any assistance or contact with the assigned coach and opted to be coached remotely by her personal coach, Robert Farrier," the JCF shared, adding that it remains committed to supporting all national cyclists, and also congratulated Palmer on her achievement.

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