TIME FOR CHANGE!
VICE-PRESIDENT of Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) Raymond Anderson claims that in the past six years in office with this current administration he has not been able to truly transform the sport from the sidelines, thus spurring him to enter the race for the top job as he promises that if he topples incumbent President Michael Ricketts he aims to make sweeping changes in the interest of the game —across all its planks.
Anderson, during the launch of his 27-page manifesto at Courtleigh Hotel & Suites on Thursday, reiterated his commitment to leading with honesty, openness, and efficiency, and believes his selected team is capable of achieving the goals they have set for themselves.
Anderson’s slate includes candidate vice-presidents Keith Wellington, Jacqueline Cummings-Martin, Donald Beckford, and Orville Powell, as well as Carole Beckford and Whycliffe “Dave” Cameron.
Meanwhile, Ricketts’s list includes vice-presidents Gregory Daley, Elaine Walker-Brown, Raymond Grant, and Baron Watson, as well as directors Rudolph Speid and Bruce Gaynor.
Elections are scheduled for January 14, 2024.
“My association with the Jamaica Football Federation spans well in excess of three decades; this period includes the last six years with the current administration. The question, therefore, arises as to why am I challenging for the leadership of the Jamaica Football Federation at this time.
“My answer is simple: My association with the JFF has provided me with a comprehensive view of the challenges with which the JFF has been grappling, however I have not been able to act on what I know is needed. I need to be in a position to make the decisions to make the difference required,” Anderson said during his presentation.
Anderson stated that his team will be guided by eight key points in order to achieve their goal: rebranding football, establishing a youth development programme, restoring financial stability, developing women’s football, regaining stakeholder trust, investing in fields and infrastructure, establishing local senior elite squads, and facilitating qualifications.
Anderson highlighted that one of the most difficult problems the JFF has encountered over the last six years has been operating with a prohibitive financial regime imposed by world governing body Fifa.
“Foremost among the challenges facing the JFF is that over the last six years the federation has been operating under a restricted funding mandate from Fifa. Please recognise that this restriction is due primarily to poor reporting and accountability over the period.
“This has imposed enormous constraints on the JFF to pursue meaningful developmental objectives; in fact, the federation has been unable to meet some of its basic obligations which has resulted in unseemly public disputes with some of our key stakeholders — most notably the players,” Anderson said.
JFF’s General Secretary Dennis Chung, during a press conference held at the federation’s offices also on Thursday, had disclosed that one of the most pressing concerns the federation faced this year was financial difficulties, and that this issue had been resolved because the federation has obtained a Tax Compliance Certificate (TCC).
According to Anderson, the current administration has very little trust among its numerous stakeholders, which is critical for the smooth operation of any business.
“The JFF is no exception to this rule. Trust lost is often hard to restore. Rebuilding trust is almost akin to putting Humpty Dumpty back together after the fall. We, therefore, have no alternative but to replace this regime — we neither have the time nor the resources to do otherwise. This administration needs to go, not because it is comprised of evildoers but simply because Jamaican football cannot continue in its current state.
“Trust impinges on everything we do. Corporate sponsors will not support our programmes if they don’t trust us — that’s why the administration has failed to garner any substantial support from corporate Jamaica. The public will not stand behind our teams unconditionally in the absence of trust, and our players will not be able to perform to their very best levels when they have no confidence in the administration,” said Anderson, a former St Mary FA president.
Anderson, who is also a vice-president of Jamaica Olympic Association, said that under the current administration the senior Reggae Girlz have qualified twice for the Women’s World Cup and have done so by overcoming unnecessary obstacles which were brought about by reported inefficiency, incompetence, and lack of trust in the administration.
“A logical question to ask me is: ‘Were you not a part of the administration? Why didn’t you do something?’ My answer is twofold: I was a member of the team but was not a part of many key decisions which were made; it is for this reason why I have put myself forward as a candidate for the position of JFF president. I want to be in a position where I can make decisions based on reasoned assessments,” affirmed Anderson.
Anderson then asked the 56 delegates from the three pillars to help his team claim charge of the federation, rebuild stakeholder trust and, most crucially, engage corporate Jamaica’s return to football.
“Having had a close-up view of the JFF operations, I am not new to the game. I will not need to go through an apprenticeship period once I become president. I know what is needed and have the team to make it happen. There is much to be done but we are up to the task.
“There will have to be a considerable amount of cleaning and rebuilding but we promise to retain those policies which have worked for football and which we believe will be in the best interest for us to sustain. I extend an arm of friendship to you all, mindful of the possibilities which exist for the beautiful game and Jamaica, land we love,” Anderson ended.