Sports

Boyz set to receive part of Gold Cup money

...skipper Blake salutes teammates for their patience

Saturday, November 16, 2019

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LONG BAY, Antigua — Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts has said that the senior Reggae Boyz will begin to receive part payment of agreed match fees from the Concacaf Gold Cup.

The players have been a bit concerned, if not anxious, at the late payment of the funds from the 2019 edition of the tournament staged June 17-July 7, in the USA, Caribbean and Central America.

“The players will be paid half of what's owed shortly, and hopefully by next week they will get these funds… we have got half of our Fifa allocation money, so we can now pay the Boyz half of what we owe them from the Gold Cup.

“We are hopeful that by the end of the year we will get the other 50 per cent, so we would be able to fulfil our commitment to the Boyz, and of course the Girlz, who are owed the remainder of their World Cup bonus.

“We will try as best as possible to appease each of the groups, and while we would not be able to pay everything that we owe right now, but in the case of the Boyz, we will be able to make a 50 per cent payment in short order,” said JFF boss Ricketts.

He said the federation had agreed to pay “US$2,000 per player, per game for match fee” for the Gold Cup, which Ricketts admitted “was a difficult” figure to meet.

“It is something that they strongly supported and was serious about defending, so we had no choice but to give in,” the JFF president told the Jamaica Observer here at The Veranda Resort and Spa, where the Boyz are staying for last night Concacaf Nations League (CNL) game against hosts Antigua.

The Boyz had finished fourth in the last Gold Cup, an underachievement considering they were beaten finalists in 2015 and 2017. Not making it to the final, Ricketts claimed, had put a dent on potential earnings.

“We were hoping that we would have at least gone to the final because the rewards would have been a bit more tangible, but still we committed ourselves to the players, and of course we have to honour these commitments, we just need to ask of them to be a bit more patient, and we have been having their support in this regard,” he noted.

The Boyz are also owed match fees related to the ongoing CNL, but a figure for that tournament is still being negotiated, which will ultimately be less that the US$2,000 that was agreed for the Gold Cup.

“We have been renegotiating, and they have been expressing their understanding as it relates to what is affordable, and therefore, there will be a different match fee as it relates to the Nations League,” Ricketts said.

Meanwhile, Boyz Captain Andre Blake confirmed that he was notified by Ricketts that a payment of half of what is owed from the Gold Cup will be made shortly.

But, before the news came that money has been sourced to begin to honour the Gold Cup match fees, Blake said he wants to see the day when players and the JFF don't have to be squabbling for money in public because it paints a dim picture of the football programme on a whole.

“Most of the times it always come across as if the players are the bad persons when it comes to getting payment. I have to keep telling the players that even though it's tough, we don't want to keep getting to the situation that whenever we have to get paid we have to go on strike, but it looks like if we don't do that we don't get a reaction, which always falls back on us

“So as we go forward, we are just asking the JFF to work with us, figure out ways and get corporate entities on board,” said Blake, who is a key representative of the players at the negotiating table.

He said even though the Boyz are yet to be paid they have amazingly remained upbeat and their performance in the CNL speaks for itself.

Before last night's match against Antigua at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, the Boyz were on maximum 12 points, with 18 goals for and none against, to lead Group C of CNL B.

“It's a very sad situation [not being paid] that the players shouldn't have to be dealing with, and regardless of everything, we still go out there and get the job done. Again, I have to commend the boys, because once they get on the pitch, they put all these things aside and they go work,” Blake told the Observer.

“The football is going in the right direction right now and is something we want to build on… I have been asking the players to be patient as there is something good going on like the ranking, and if we make it to a World Cup, that would change many players' lives, so right now we are being very co-operative,” he added.

Blake said the players have bonded around a philosophy of charity, as they have been making contributions to different causes, so their earnings have taken on a wider significance than themselves.

“If you noticed the last round of games we made a contribution to charitable programmes and this is something we will be looking to do every time we assemble for camp — to collect money to make donations to different charitable causes.

“We still haven't got paid for the Gold Cup, and even being not being paid for the Gold Cup, we were still able to raise money from our per diem to contribute,” he said.

—Sean Williams


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