Ricketts promises focus on youth development, women’s football
Incumbent Michael Ricketts believes that if he is re-elected as Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) boss on Sunday, his administration will elevate the sport in the country.
Ricketts is being challenged for the top job by Vice-President Raymond Anderson, who claims that in the past six years, Ricketts has not been able to truly transform football from the sidelines, thus spurring him to enter the race.
“We are waiting to face the polls, and we are just hoping that good sense will prevail,” Ricketts said during his presentation at the launch of his 2024 to 2028 manifesto held at the Wembley Centre of Excellence in Clarendon on Wednesday.
“What is unfortunate is that all that is happening now would have been approved at the board level and certainly at Congress.
“But we have a brand-new constitution, and a number of people are interpreting the articles sometimes to suit themselves. We are awaiting it, and hopefully on Sunday everything will be smooth and we will be able to proceed as planned,” Ricketts noted, in reference to a possible legal battle with the Anderson team.
Ricketts’s slate includes candidate vice-presidents Gregory Daley, Elaine Walker-Brown, Raymond Grant, and Baron Watson, as well as directors Rudolph Speid and Bruce Gaynor.
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.
Ricketts stated that he has several “astute minds” on his roster, both football-wise and politically. He said they had contributed much to football and had extensive knowledge about the sport.
Ricketts stated that once elected, Daley will oversee competitions, Walker-Brown will continue to oversee the women’s programme, and Grant, a former JFF general secretary, will have direct oversight of the day-to-day running of the administration.
“We understand fully well that we need to brush up on the administrative component of the JFF, and we are intent on ensuring that Raymond [Grant], who has great experience in this regard, will do that and help us to not just perfect the art of administration but work together very closely,” Ricketts said.
Ricketts said key priorities will be infrastructure development and youth football programmes. He said 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 also be prioritised.
Speid, in delivering the manifesto, stated that the JFF intended to provide financial assistance to all stakeholders.
“Additional funding will go to female football Tier 1 and 2 [competitions] until leagues are established and can survive on [their] own. Financial assistance will go to parishes to fund the grassroots programmes and participation in national parish Under-13 and -15 competitions. [There will be] assistance to provide computers to modernise information flow and access to competition and to digitise operations,” he said.
Speid also stated that an additional US$1.9 million in royalties received annually from the Adidas kit contract will be allocated for football development programmes over the next four years.
“Twenty-five per cent [will be given] to parish affiliates to assist their competitions and operations; 20 per cent to go to professional league, five per cent to associations, and the other 50 per cent will be used to fund JFF’s youth development, grassroots and other programmes to ensure sustained growth,” said Speid.