SCARY MONTH FOR JFF FINANCES
President Michael Ricketts says the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has found it challenging to finance the national programme, particularly for October, with both the Reggae Boyz and Reggae Girlz active in their respective competitions.
The Reggae Boyz are now in Trinidad and Tobago for their Concacaf Nations League match against Haiti this evening after travelling from Grenada following their 4-1 win over the hosts on Thursday.
The Reggae Girlz will begin Concacaf W Gold Cup qualification later this month with a trip to Panama on Wednesday, October 25 before playing hosts to Guatemala on Sunday, October 29. The Girlz are also expected to compete in the Pan American Games in Chile, starting on Sunday, October 22.
Ricketts told the Jamaica Observer that the upcoming matches for both teams have been difficult on the JFF’s funds.
“It’s costing us a pretty penny to prepare these teams and to travel,” he said. “We have players all over the globe, so that is a massive, expensive exercise to bring these players home for camps and games. But we’ve not done badly so far and we’re just hopeful we will qualify for the future tournaments and then see what happens thereafter.”
Over the years, the JFF’s financial struggle has seen several issues, including salaries, air travel, and accommodation for coaches and players.
Although not confirming names or figures received, Ricketts is hoping for more stability after acquiring more support for the coming months.
“It’s a massive challenge, but we have some new sponsors on board and, of course, we’re trying to market the football as we can,” he said. “We’re trying to extract as much support as we can from our parent organisations, and so far we’ve not done badly.
“But when you think we have 12 national teams to take care of, it’s always going to be a challenge, but we’ve weathered the storm, so let’s see what happens from here on.”
He has also stressed the importance of the ongoing Nations League campaign for the Reggae Boyz. The team has qualified for the quarter-final stage of League A where they will join seeded teams USA, Mexico, Canada, and Panama.
The winners will not only play in the Nations Leagues final in March 2024 but also in next summer’s edition of CONMEBOL’s Copa America, which would be a financial boost for the JFF.
“Of course, the really big picture is the World Cup in 2026, [but] we really need to qualify for the Copa America, and I spoke with the Coach [Heimir Hallgrimsson] and he said he wanted four points from the two games [Grenada and Haiti]. I’d love for us to get all six points, but he says four points will take him where he wants to go, but hopefully we can get maximum points and then we can move on from there.”
Jamaica’s clash with Haiti today is scheduled for 7:00 pm Jamaica time.