Beyond our means!

Beyond our means!

Ricketts says JFF unable to pay players what they deserve

Observer writer

Sunday, January 24, 2021

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Michael Ricketts, president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), said his organisation will never be able to properly compensate members of the men's senior football team, the Reggae Boyz, commiserate to their skill and ability.

The JFF is engaged in yet another drawn out and public negotiation with the players who are getting ready for a busy second half of the year as they will be taking part in the Concacaf Gold Cup in the United States as well as the Fifa World Cup final round of qualifying.

The negotiation was dragged into the public realm recently after a voice recording of a meeting between the players' representative Damion Lowe and members of the JFF executive was leaked. In response, Ricketts said on Thursday that safeguards were being put in place to prevent a repeat.

To that end Ricketts, who was the guest speaker at Thursday's monthly meeting of the Kingston Rotary Club, said the JFF had brought in former Cricket West Indies President Dave Cameron to be part of a commitee that would be doing the bargaining moving forward.

Ricketts came up just short of admitting that the most recent meeting did not meet the highest standards, claiming that his organisation would be “trying to do [the negotiations] in a more professional manner”.

Ricketts, who joined the meeting virtually, said: “What we want the players to understand is that we will never be able to pay a player, we the JFF, for what he is worth, or for his value.

“We are not in a psoition to do so...we will never be in a position to pay them what they are worth.”

He said the JFF has since set up a task force where “we have brought in a gentleman with vast experience, Dave Cameron”.

“There will also be four board members, the general secretary and the president who will be ex-officio members of the panel,” Ricketts noted.

The JFF head said his organisation had convened a meeting earlier in the week “where we put our position to players and they will get back to us in two weeks' time”.

“We will take it from there [and] we are trying to do it in a more professinal manner, we have met with players and presented the JFF's position,” Ricketts said.

The JFF president, who was responding to questions after his presentation, directly addressed the recent blow-up prior to the Reggae Boyz two-game trip to Saudi Arabia.

“We were only discussing what we were going to give to the players for this particular trip to Saudi Arabia and we ended up agreeing that each player ended up getting US$4,000 for the two games in addition to per diem. We were very fortunate that we had the money and could have paid them,” he stated.

Ricketts said the federation was trying to protect itself as well and did not want to overreach their financial position in trying to satisfy demands from the players.

“The situation is and the problem is, we don't want to go into an arrangement that when the time comes around to pay, we can't do it...the JFF is not a money making institution; we depend exclusively on sponsorships and grants,” he reasoned.

Ricketts said he had to be careful how the JFF went about making commitments to players as situations could change between the offer and the time to deliver.

“A sponsor could very well say to you that 'We are going to make some funds available to you at the end of the month,' and you now, based on that committment would have made a committment to your players that 'Yes, we will make monies available to you at the end of the month,'” Ricketts postulated.

“But at the end of the month, the sponsor says, 'JFF I am sorry but we are unable to meet our committment, so we are not able to make this disbursement,' Now when you say to the players that we were depending on a sponsor and the sponsor has backed out, all hell now breaks loose,” Ricketts concluded.

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