The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has refuted claims made in a recent interview by national player Leon Bailey and called for evidence in lieu of some of the explosive accusations levied against the organisation.

In particular, the association took exception to a claim made by the player that suggested that the JFF had actively played a role in preventing his ability to travel abroad when he attempted to do so as a developing young player.

“From I was 8 or 9 I have been getting 'fight' from the federation. They even tried to block me from going to Europe.  They linked up with the embassy to deny me a visa…the last time I went to Europe I had to fly to Cuba to get my visa,” Bailey told the Let’s Be Honest podcast.

In addressing the issues, via a press release, the JFF expressed disappointment with many of the utterances made by the player and the manner in which the grievances were aired.

Leon Bailey speaks out in explosive interview! The 25 y-o says JA football needs a proper system

“It is unfortunate that Leon has apparently felt this way about the JFF, especially while playing for the Jamaica National team and not expressing it, and knowing his commitment to the program and country. He has indicated that the persons in the JFF, and by implication the JFF, has given him a fight and tried to block him from going to Europe by working through the Embassy…,” the release read.

“This is quite unfortunate as the JFF has always seen Leon as an important member of the National team, and what he has said is baseless and is consistent with recent similar comments made, which we have called for evidence to be shared, either privately or publicly, so that we can act on it. To date, no such evidence has been shared. It is not credible to make anecdotal accusations without evidence, and by doing so seek to damage the reputation of individuals and the JFF as an organisation. We also find it impractical that a child between 8 and 12 years old would understand what the actions and motives of the JFF or any organisation would be, with any clear understanding as first-hand information,” it added.

“In fact, by saying that the JFF has the capability to block an Embassy from issuing a visa, also implies that the Embassy is complicit with the JFF in acting, as he implies, in a “corrupt” manner. The JFF can assure everyone that we do not have the ability to influence a visa decision with any Embassy, and we would never seek to intervene in such a process.”

The release went on to state that the matter had been referred to the team manager and coach for review.

 

 

Jamaica has selected a 20-man squad devoid of its European-based players for an international friendly against Cameroon at the Stade Omnisport Ahmadou Ahidja in Cameroon on Saturday, November 9.

The local-based members of the delegation are scheduled to leave Thursday from the Sangster International Airport.

Because the match falls outside the FIFA-approved international window, the squad is comprised of players from Jamaica’s local premier league with the rest coming from the American soccer leagues.

According to the JFF, Kemar Lawrence’s availability is yet to be confirmed but he has been named in the squad regardless as there are efforts being made to ensure that he is available.

The full squad is Alwayne Harvey – Mount Pleasant, Colorado Murray – Harbour View FC, Damion Lowe – Inter Miami, Demario Phillips – Mount Pleasant, Devon Williams – Miami FC, Dwayne Atkinson – Cavalier SC, Jahmali Waite – Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Jamoi Topey – Mount Pleasant, Javain Brown – Vancouver Whitecaps, Jourdain Fletcher – NEROCA FC, Kevon Lambert – Phoenix Rising, Lamar Walker – Miami FC, Maliek Howell – Memphis Tigers, Ricardo Thomas – Dunbeholden FC, Richard King – Cavalier SC, Kemar Foster – Waterhouse FC, Kemar Lawrence – Minnesota FC, Peter McGregor – Dunbeholden, Justin McMaster – Minnesota FC, Trivante Stewart – Mount Pleasant.

The number 64-ranked Reggae Boyz heads into this maiden encounter against the Indomitable Lions having one win, two draws and three losses in the last six matches, the last of which was a 3-0 loss to Argentina on September 28.

Cameroon, meanwhile, has a similar record from their last six matches. They lost their last match on September 27, 1-0 to South Korea.

 

Newly appointed Reggae Boyz head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson believes his first order of business is to develop a national philosophy on how Jamaican wants to play football.

The Jamaica Football Federation has expressed sorrow at news of the passing of former national player Chris Zaidie who died on Sunday after a prolonged battle with lung cancer.

 The 55-year-old Zaidie played briefly for Jamaica between 1992 and 1993 but excelled at St George’s College High School where as a player he won the coveted ‘triple’ in 1983 and 1984. The triple comprised the Manning Cup, Walker Cup and the Olivier Shield.

 “The JFF joins the local football fraternity in mourning the passing of former national player Christopher Ziadie, who died peacefully in the United States on Sunday,” the JFF said in a statement Monday.

 “Christopher was an individual who cherished the game and gave many years to its development whether as a player or administrator in another instance.

 “He wore his emotions on his sleeves and was not afraid to stand up for his teammates in any situation. Chris played with distinction for various clubs and institutions both locally and internationally, but was most proud and honoured to play for Jamaica.

 “We know that his passing will not only leave a void in our lives but in the hearts of all those who knew him. The President of the JFF, Michael Ricketts, conveys sincerest condolences to his family and close friends, especially at St Georges College where his exploits were first recognized.

May his soul rest in peace.”

Zaidie represented Kingston Lions and Boys Town FC locally. He also coached Jamaica’s U20 team in 1999 as well as at Jamaica Premier League team Waterhouse FC.

He leaves behind two children.

Icelandic coach Heimir Hallgrimsson was on Friday introduced as the new head coach of the Jamaica National Senior team in what Jamaica Football Federation President Michael Ricketts described as a game-changing event.

Having signed a four-year contract, the 55-year-old dentist who guided Iceland to FIFA World Cup qualification in 2018 has been tasked with aiding the development of Jamaica’s football and qualifying for the 2026 World Cup that will be held jointly by the United States, Mexico and Canada.

Ricketts described the signing of Coach Hallgrimsson as the ushering in of a new era that will see the controversy-plagued administration change direction.

“The federation has been making important internal changes that will position the federation to fully support what we will announce today as well as a number of other national activities,” he said during the press conference to announce the new coach at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston on Friday afternoon.

“The changes I will not speak about too much except to say that the call to action for optimism is based on efforts that we will all make effective immediately. On behalf of the Jamaica Football Federation, I wish to formally announce that Mr Heimir Hallgrimsson has accepted the offer of the JFF to become the head coach of the senior men’s national team for a period of four years.”

Declaring that he chose to take the Jamaica project because of the great potential for success, Hallgrimsson was under no illusions regarding to the magnitude of the undertaking.

“When I was looking for projects to coach, I was really selective. It was not about money, it was about the project and for me, it was a perfect match to come now to Jamaica and to try to fix what is broken, obviously, there are some obstacles we have to cross and we have to improve some big things but for me, it was a perfect match. I see so much potential here and if I compare this one to the Icelandic project I think the potential is much more than in Iceland,” he said.

That said, Hallgrimsson is also aware that he does not have much time to right the many wrongs of Jamaica’s football.

“We have a year until we start playoffs (World Cup qualification) the group stage of the World Cup so we have to start quickly and try to stabilize the Jamaica national team. The second job is assisting in the improvement of football here in Jamaica through coaching education of elite players and we are happy to be a part of an assist in that,” he said.

“While going this, we all know that in every match there is pressure to win. There is an expectation to win and no coach will survive in his job without winning football matches. So two different things, first to develop talent and the second to improve the national team and I think both of these projects can support each other.”

To do that, Hallgrimsson will bring with him two other coaches, who he believes will be assets to his plans.

“I will bring two coaches with me. One assistant his name is John Wall. He is a teacher, has a BA in Sports Science, coached at many levels in Sweden. He was a tactical coach for the Finnish national team. He is good in player development and really useful in the transition getting local players to a higher standard and eventually and hopefully to the national team,” he said.

“The other staff member I will bring with me is Gudmundur Hreidarsson. He will be our goalkeeper coach. I worked with him for seven years in the national team. All the years I was there he was the goalkeeper coach. He is, in my opinion, one of the best ones I’ve seen. He has the highest education possible for goalkeeper coaches in Europe, very experienced.”

Hallgrimsson’s first test will be against Argentina in less than two weeks and he believes that the encounter against the number-four ranked team in the world will be a blessing in disguise.

 “It’s a great opportunity because they will expose all of our weaknesses, especially defensive weaknesses,” he said.

“Probably, we will be defending more or less, most of the game so it’s really a good chance to see how are when we compare to the best in the world.”

 

 

 

 

Departing Jamaica Reggae Girlz coach, Vin Blaine, has insisted the toxic environment surrounding his tenure with the national team had left the situation untenable.

Blaine brought an end to a weeks-long saga yesterday when he announced that he would officially resign as coach of the team, following a dispute with some senior members of the Reggae Girlz.

The players in question wrote a letter of no confidence, to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), signed by 19 members, which suggested the coach lacked detailed training sessions, did not provide video analysis, had issues with set pieces, and provided no post-match reviews for player improvement.

 A review of the situation by the JFF technical committee, however, cleared the coach of any wrongdoing and recommended Blaine stay in the post.  From his perspective, however, making that decision would not have been in anyone’s best interest. 

“Based on the situation, if everyone knew the entire process I went through; It was a toxic environment,” Blaine told the SportsMax Zone.

 “Sad to say from day one or two, in the program, you had staff undermining the program, the previous staff.  You had players telling you who should be the equipment person, who should be the fitness coach, those are things that went on,” he added.

“I came out with a smile on my face because it’s not for me to disclose those things in a training camp.  So, I don’t think I could move forward although the federation said they were clearing me for that.  For the program to go forward and for my own peace of mind, I did not need that kind of toxicity.”

Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Michael Ricketts, has been ordered to pay $9m in a default judgment handed down by the Supreme Court.

The ruling, issued on Wednesday, found Ricketts to have acted with malice when he made comments, which amounted to a homophobic slur, against Sporting Central CEO Ainsley Lowe on local radio in 2016.

The JFF president did not contest the charging when the case was brought against him in May 2017 and has now found out the price tag on the judgment.  Ricketts has been ordered to pay general damages in the amount of $8m and aggregated damages of $1m.  In addition, Ricketts will have to issue a public apology via the same radio station the offense was made and issue an apology, approved by the claimant's attorneys, in a Jamaica Gleaner publication before January 22.

Ricketts' derogatory comment came after Lowe challenged him for the post of Clarendon FA president in 2016. Lowe claimed the election was run unconstitutionally and should have been declared null and void.

Interim Jamaica Reggae Boyz head coach Paul Hall has named a 23-man squad for the upcoming international friendly against Peru in Lima on January 20.

“The date of the game does not fall within the FIFA window so none of the Europe and Central America based players were called,” the JFF stated in a release today.

Hall is using this game as an opportunity to assess players that are unfamiliar to him and as such, has left out regular members of the squad like captain Andre Blake, Oneil Fisher and Alvas Powell.

All the players, including those not called on this occasion, have made themselves available and are committed to being ready for the three World Cup qualifying games from January 27 to February 2.

 The 23-man squad for those games will assemble in Jamaica on January 24th while the squad for the Peru game will assemble in Jamaica on January 13th.

The full squad is as follows: Dwayne Miller, Jeadine White, Amal Knight, Damion Lowe, Richard King, Jamoi Topey, Javain Brown, Kemar Lawrence, Je-Vaughn Watson, Kevon Lambert, Tevin Shaw, Ramone Howell, Devon Williams, Peter-Lee Vassell, Lamar Walker, Alex Marshall, Dwayne Atkinson, Deshane Beckford, Kaheem Parris, Devonte Campbell, Jourdain Fletcher, Cory Burke, Oquassa Chong.

 

 

Veteran coach Vin Blaine has been appointed interim head coach of Jamaica’s Women’s senior team.

Jamaica Reggae Girlz head coach, Hubert Busby, has been suspended indefinitely by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) while it conducts an inquiry into previous allegations of sexual misconduct.

The 52-year-old, who has been head of the country’s national team since 2020, has faced resurfaced allegations that he attempted to force himself on a player in 2010, during his time as coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps women’s team.

Busby has denied the allegations in a previous report, but the Whitecaps did part ways with the coach sometime after the accusations surfaced.  The team, however, made no mention of allegations of sexual misconduct being the reason he was fired.

Major League Soccer announced that it would conduct investigations into how that situation was handled.  The JFF for its part has asked its parent body FIFA to conduct a full investigation into the incident, which will determine the next steps to be taken. 

“We will await the evidence of the FIFA investigation.  We do not want to make permanent decisions until we have the facts.  At the same time, we have to ensure that our women and girls are protected by those who lead them,” JFF president Michael Ricketts said via a press release.

Busby coached the team in two practice matches against Costa Rica and was expected to lead a camp later this month.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) said it is to meet with Reggae Girlz Head Coach Hubert Busby Jr. next Tuesday to discuss allegations that he tried to solicit sex from a player while he was head coach of the Vancouver Whitecaps Women’s team a decade ago.

Busby Jr has denied the allegations.

The 52-year-old Busby was appointed Reggae Girlz head coach in January 2020, taking over from Hugh Menzies, who resigned his position over financial disagreements with the JFF.

“The JFF is aware of allegations surrounding National Women’s Head Coach Hubert Busby. The executive of the JFF will convene next Tuesday to discuss the matter with Mr Busby,” the JFF said in a tersely worded statement on Thursday.

The allegations against the Canadian-born former player emerged in a story published by the Guardian newspaper in England in which it is claimed that he made unwanted sexual advances to Malloree Enoch, who at the time, was seeking a job in the administration of the Whitecaps in September 2010.

According to the Guardian, Busby suggested that she could play for the club instead of working in the front office and plied her with “sports equipment as gifts, take her to restaurants in one-on-one situations, and ask her to stay with him alone in his hotel room while working in his role as Whitecaps coach.”

Enoch told the Guardian that on one of those occasions she spent three nights in his hotel room but said she made no sexual advances toward her during that time.

In another incident, Enoch said: “He insisted I stay (in his hotel room) because now it was late and when I agreed it was far too late to drive back. When we got back to the hotel he again didn’t have a room reserved for me. I had to stay in his room. This particular night there were two beds and I laid in my own bed and he made his way to my bed and at some point was standing over the top of me.

“He was on all fours fully on the bed. He was definitely aroused. He tried to kiss and touch me. The light was not on but I don’t think he had his shirt on. I had to negotiate to get him off the bed. I told him I wasn’t interested.

 “I think there was a lot of emotion. I was definitely scared. I had this dream to be a soccer player and I was trying to pursue something I had wanted to do since I was five and now I was put in a really shitty position. He was using this power because he had something that I wanted. I was very uncomfortable. I was resistant to it and he tried to pursue it and pursue it and then he got pissed off and went over to his own bed and went to sleep.”

She said she did not report the matter to the club because she was embarrassed and did not want to compromise being able to play for the club.

She was eventually signed by the Whitecaps.

However, at the end of 2011, the Guardian reported, the Whitecap players sent an email to club officials detailing a list of complaints concerning inappropriate behaviour by Busby and the coaching staff.

The club hired an ombudsman to interview the players and in October that year, the club sent an email to the players stating that “it was in the best interest of the club to make a change in the coaching staff for our women’s team programme.”

The email also told the players that it would be inappropriate for the players to comment on the matter publicly.

 

 

 

Jerome Waite, the assistant coach to the Jamaica senior football team is to be assigned to another national team following a decision of the Board of Directors of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).

Waite is to be replaced by Merron Gordon, a past assistant coach at the National Under 23 level and former Head Coach for the Senior women's team. Gordon will join the recently appointed Assistant Coach Paul Hall in this position. Both assistant coaches will join Head Coach Theodore Whitmore at the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup.

There is no word on where Waite will end up.

The decision was taken to re-assign Waite at the quarterly board meeting held on Tuesday, June 29, after it approved a recommendation from the Technical and Development Committee (T&DC).

Coach Waite had previously served at the National Under 20 and Under 23 levels and a final decision on the re-assignment is to be recommended by the committee.

The JFF said the decision regarding Coach Waite's reassignment was a decision of the Board of Directors, the only legitimate body that can take that decision, and that Head Coach Whitmore was not involved in the decision.

A 23-member Reggae Girlz squad assemble in the United States tomorrow without inspirational captain Khadijah Shaw for two upcoming international friendly games as part of the 2021 Women's National Team Summer Series hosted by the US Soccer.

The local delegation from Jamaica will depart on Thursday, June 3 out of Montego Bay at 2:20 pm.

The squad will have a camp in Houston from June 4-7 after which it will relocate to the host hotel.

Jamaica will play number 38 ranked team Nigeria on June 10 and World champions the USA on June 13. Both games will be played at the BBVA stadium in Houston, Texas. The games will be the first for the Jamaican team since they participated in the CONCACAF Olympic Qualifiers in February 2020 and they will do so without their prolific striker Shaw.

Jamaica's number-nine, the leading scorer for Bordeaux in the Division 1 Féminine, the highest division of women's football in France, has reportedly asked for time to recover from what was an intense season in which the team fought successfully for a Champions League spot.

Shaw was the joint-leading scorer, alongside PSG’s Marie-Antoinette Katoto, with 21 goals for Bordeaux, which finished third in the division.

Meanwhile, five new players have been named to the squad including Rebecca Spencer of Tottenham Hotspur, Drew Spence of Chelsea, and Shania Hayles of Aston Villa as well as Mikayla Dayes of the University of Maryland and Satara of FC Austin Elite.

They will join 14 veterans who represented Jamaica at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.

According to the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), once the teams arrive in Houston both for training camp as well as the tournament, they will operate under a highly controlled environment that will include testing on arrival for the camp and testing at the host hotel.

The staging of the official training and matches will fall under the comprehensive US Soccer Return to Play Protocols and Guidelines and in accordance with CONCACAF Return to Play Protocols. The JFF has also developed protocols for the training camp in keeping with these guidelines.

The full squad comprises Sydney Schnieder (Washington Spirit FC USA), Rebecca Spencer (Tottenham Hotspurs FC), Chantelle Swaby (Glasgow Rangers) Konya Plummer (Orlando Pride), Allyson Swaby (AS Roma), Deneisha Blackwood (Houston Dash), Havana Solaun (Carolina Courage), Chinyelu Asher (Washington Spirit FC), Olufolasade Adamamouken (University of Southern California), Drew Spence (Chelsea FC), Peyton McNamara (Ohio State University), Sashana Campbell (Petah Tikva), Tiernny Wiltshire (Maccabi Emek Hefer), Jody Brown (Florida State University), Shania Hayles (Aston Villa WFC), Gabrielle Gayle (South Alabama), Kayla McCoy (Training with Glasgow Rangers), Vyan Sampson (Charlton FC), Cheyna Matthews (Racing Louisville), Yazmeen Jamieson (Unattached) Tiffany Cameron (Ferencvaros), Mikayla Dayes (University Of Maryland), and Satara Murray (FC Austin Elite).

The pre-tournament camp which is mainly financed by the JFF has received support from the Bob Marley Foundation, the Reggae Girlz Foundation, Cool Runnings based in Houston, Arm Wave and Wisynco with its Wata brand.

 

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has been forced to pull out of its upcoming friendly international against Japan, as a breakdown in COVID-19 protocol communications will see the Caribbean team unable to field enough players.

The game was scheduled for Thursday, June 3rd but the majority of the team’s English-based contingent will not arrive in time for the fixture.  The issue stems from the fact the English-based players did PCR tests using the widely accepted dual method of the nostril and oral swabs, however, Japan only accepts the more complicated nasal PCR tests.

According to reports, the Japan Football Association (JSA) had not informed the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) of the specific requirement.  As a result, the six players were denied boarding in Amsterdam after they were found to not have the specific PCR coronavirus test results required for entry into Japan.

The England-based players have since returned home to do the necessary PCR test but, having rebooked, will not reach Japan until Wednesday. The members of the delegation who left Jamaica did the correct PCR test and were accepted on the flight from Houston to Japan, except for Tyreek McGee who did not board the flight to Japan for reasons yet to be conveyed.  The player, however, did have the required PCR test done. He is set to return home.

The remaining matches against Serbia, on the 7th, and the Japan Olympic team, on the 12th, will go ahead as planned.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has confirmed that several players invited to be part of the national squad for the team's upcoming matches against Japan and Serbia next month.

Initially, the JFF had named a 30-man for the pair of friendlies but has since revealed that a few of the players will be unavailable for the engagement due to various reasons. 

According to the release some players had injuries, visa and documentation issues, extended club commitments, and personal reasons. The football body, however, remained hopeful of having the full team assembled in time for the Gold Cup, which will take place in July.

The team will face Japan in Sapporo, on Thursday, June 3, followed by Serbia on June 7 in Kobe and the Japan Olympic team in Nagoya on Saturday, June 12.

 

Jamaica squad

  1. Dennis Taylor
  2. Jeadine White
  3. Dillon Barnes
  4. Liam Moore
  5. Javon East
  6. Curtis Tilt
  7. Kasey Palmer
  8. Oniel Fisher
  9. Amarii Bell
  10. Luca Levee
  11. Andre Gray
  12. Tyreek Magee
  13. Blair Turgott
  14. Adrian Mariappa
  15. Kevaughn Isaacs
  16. Kemal Malcolm
  17. Jahshaun Anglin
  18. Kevon Lambert
  19. Damion Lowe
  20. Wesley Harding
  21. Devon Williams
  22. Junior Flemmings

 

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