Incumbent Michael Ricketts says he is releasing his manifesto on Wednesday, ahead of the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) presidential election on Sunday. He is also confident that if everything goes to plan, he and his administration will remain in power for another term.
Ricketts is being challenged for the top job by Vice-President Raymond Anderson, who claimed 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.
Ricketts’ slate includes vice-presidents Gregory Daley, Elaine Walker-Brown, Raymond Grant, and Baron Watson, as well as directors Rudolph Speid and Bruce Gaynor.
While 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.
“I feel that I am pretty confident,” Ricketts told the Jamaica Observer. “I mean, we think that we have done some good work, and that will work for us. We have the numbers, and like I’ve always said, I want us to stay focused, stay respectful, and don’t try to drag each other into a mud hole. We want to maintain the higher ground, and we are just waiting on Sunday.
“I understand that they [Anderson’s campaign team, Real Solid Action (RSA)] are doing a number of things because they don’t have the numbers, and so they are now trying to win the election in the board room. We have the numbers, we are working hard, and we are staying close to our people,” Ricketts said in response to RSA’s appeal to the Electoral Committee on the basis that several ethical breaches exist as it regards football’s world governing body, FIFA’s Ethics Code, in an attempt to delay Sunday’s election.
“I launch my manifesto tomorrow at 11 am at the Wembley Centre of Excellence. I think we are strong, and like I said, we have done some good work, and we are going to campaign on that. We are not trying to drag anybody down, as we just want to stay on the higher ground and still show people love and respect,” Ricketts said.
Ricketts stated that if re-elected, one of his key priorities will be infrastructure development and youth football programmes.
“Well, as it is now, our infrastructure development is going to be key,” he said. “We are trying to get facilities in each of the four regions. We’ve been discussing this with the Government as it relates to leasing some lands and some properties, as well as our youth development and grassroots programmes.
“We signed a contract with a coach from England called Dan Crooks, and we formed a partnership with FIFA. In fact, we were one of 25 countries that applied for the project, and that was granted by FIFA, so we are waiting on this work permit, and he [Dan Crooks] is supposed to be here any time now to start that massive grassroots talent identification and development programmes.”
Ricketts says that the women’s football programme and the senior Reggae Boyz’s campaign to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, as well as support for clubs and parishes, will be prioritised.
“We will, of course, concentrate heavily on women’s football,” he said. “They have brought us so much glory over the last decade or so, and we must work with them to ensure that they will grow this women’s programme. All the challenges we are having now, we can certainly get over. I just have some repair work to do, and I’m pretty certain that we will get over all of this and get back on the path of growth.
“For our senior men’s team, the real big picture now is the World Cup qualification, and without doubt we have done the groundwork since we brought in Heimir Hallgrimsson. It was with that in mind that the long-term effect of his being here must be qualifying for the World Cup in 2026.
“Those are essential, and of course, we will be supporting the parishes financially, and these are some of the things that will be made public in our manifesto. We will make some of these announcements more detailed when we present the manifesto.”