Ricketts bouyant


Ricketts bouyant

JFF slashes debt; ready to return to the field of play

Monday, January 18, 2021

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President of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Michael Ricketts was in a buoyant mood as he delivered his message at the annual general meeting of the federation held last Saturday at Casa Maria Hotel in St Mary.

Not surprisingly, there was a positive reaction when it was announced that the JFF has managed to reduce its debt, which at one time stood near $300 million, to $238 million as at December 2020.

“We have worked diligently to cut costs wherever we can, even with limited sponsorship,” noted the president. “This year will be particularly challenging as we have the World Cup qualifiers to fund.”

Ricketts pointed to some of the positives that have taken place recently under his watch and explained why the country's football is headed in the right direction, even in the face of a pandemic. He was particularly happy that the wheels are in motion to get local players on the field of play.

“We are very happy that just Wednesday of this week the Ministry of Culture, Entertainment and Sports announced that arising out of discussions with the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the technical teams from both ministries will begin a series of meetings with the sporting associations regarding the resumption of some of their activities,” Ricketts said.

“I, therefore, use the opportunity to advise you that as per this communication, all requests for training and competitions or events must be submitted to the Ministry of Sports.”

He reiterated that clubs, affiliates and event organisers must submit any request through the JFF. “The JFF has been very deliberate in working positively with the ministries and meeting the requirements to ensure that football returns as soon as it is possible to do so.

“We intend, in these discussions, to not only discuss the Premier League but all competitions at the parish level including youth and women's football.”

The local football boss was extremely happy with the progress made by the Premier League Interim Committee (PLJIC), a body which he commissioned at the start of 2020.

“We asked the president of the Jamaica Olympic Association, Mr Christopher Samuda, to chair this committee and we invited members of the Premier League clubs, representatives of the JFF board and some independent persons to sit on this committee. The mandate was to review the existing commercial, operational and governance structures, policies and arrangements of the National Premier League (NPL) and recommend proposals for the improvement of these structures, policies and arrangements and prepare a three-year business plan covering the 2020/21 through 2022/23 seasons.”

This body represents the single-most fundamental game-changer in the sports and we are already seeing the outcomes.

He pointed to the formation of the new entity called Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL), which was formed to initially drive the commercialisation of the league and, over time, all professional competitions. Over $100 million in sponsorships and partnerships have been garnered over the last three months.

Ricketts pointed out that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed between the PFJL and the JFF which outlines the relationship between the two bodies and clearly states the responsibilities of both. Under the MOU, the JFF retains responsibility for the operations and regulations of the league.

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