JFF promises to settle women players’ dispute in time for pivotal 2024
ACCORDING to Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) General Secretary Dennis Chung, the local governing body is eager to expand the women’s football programme in Jamaica. He said big plans are afoot for next year.
But first and foremost, Chung said the federation must settle the ongoing issue of non-payment of monies to several members of the 2023 Fifa Women’s World Cup squad.
Following a December 8, 2023 meeting involving JFF, International Federation of Professional Footballers (FIFPRO), the global union for footballers, and World Cup players’ representatives, Chung stated that efforts are being made to resolve the stand-off and ensure that everyone is available when duty calls.
“There was a statement made that no payment has still been made by some persons, which we didn’t support, and we know that we have sent off all the payments for the players. We also sent all the details to them on Monday, December 11, 2023 but we haven’t heard back anything yet in terms of that; we haven’t gotten any names as to who [did] not receive it,” Chung said during a press conference held at the JFF’s head office on Thursday.
“We are not saying that people might not have received it but what we are saying is that we know we have sent it off, and it left our bank account, and it left our bank to the corresponding bank or the receiving bank.
“If there is an issue with the bank that has received it and what has gone into the account then we can assist with that by providing the reference numbers for them to check back on â€” but we haven’t received such a request from them as yet and so we are awaiting that,” Chung explained.
“We are hoping that we will have another meeting by the end of the week and deal with any other feedback but certainly there is a lot of clarity provided for everything that was discussed. The main thing was the payment issue, and we have confirmed we have made all the payments,” Chung further stated.
The payment dispute resulted in several senior players declining to represent the country in the Concacaf Women’s Gold Cup Qualifiers. A makeshift squad fought admirably but failed to qualify.
In the aftermath Chung said JFF has established a women’s department, to be led by Margaret Sutherland, to manage expansion of the women’s game locally.
“Certainly, Jamaica has been very successful in women’s football. We went to the Fifa Women’s World Cup and got to the round of 16, and we just recently completed the Women’s Gold Cup Qualifiers but, unfortunately, we were not able to make it. The girls who played did put up a very good performance, and that is something that everyone agrees with.
“Looking at that, the amount of talent we were able to unearth for the Women’s Gold Cup Qualifiers just shows the amount of talent that is available in Jamaica. We currently have 50 or more core players on the female side that we can call upon at any time,” Chung said.
In addition to the Women’s Premier League, Tier 2 competition, and a junior programme, Chung stated that one of JFF’s aims for next summer is to organise a four-nation women’s tournament.
“One of the things that we are looking at doing is having a four-nation tournament next summer in Jamaica. We are trying to work towards that, and we are looking at those plans to see who we can bring and where it can be.
“Certainly for me, the city of Montego Bay is very attractive and we are hoping that the [Montego Bay Sports] Complex will be ready,” Chung noted.
The World Cup Qualifiers for the 2027 global championship are expected to begin in 2025. Chung noted that in 2024 it will be critical to get all players available to use the Fifa windows in April, May, October, November, and December for international friendly matches.