THE Jamaica Observer understands that football’s world governing body Fifa is considering intervening in the situation regarding the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and its postponed election.
This intervention could mean Fifa banning the JFF from participating in its competitions and other football governance.
The JFF’s presidential election was set to take place at Rusea’s High School in Lucea, Hanover, on Sunday, with incumbent Michael Ricketts being challenged by his First Vice-President Raymond Anderson.
But an injunction by the Supreme Court has forced a 28-day postponement to the proceedings.
Fifa, learning of this development, may intervene because its statutes may have been violated. “Recourse to ordinary courts of law is prohibited unless specifically provided for in the Fifa regulations. Recourse to ordinary courts of law for all types of provisional measures is also prohibited,” Article 58.2 of Fifa’s statutes says.
Fifa says associations are allowed to add clauses to their statutes that make it clear they are not allowed to take disputes to ordinary courts of law unless the Fifa regulations or binding legal provisions allow for or require a resolution through ordinary courts of law.
Instead, Fifa says disputes can be taken to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
“Such disputes shall be taken to an independent and duly constituted arbitration tribunal recognised under the rules of the association or confederation or to CAS,” Article 58.3 of the statutes says. “The associations shall impose sanctions on any party that fails to respect this obligation and ensure that any appeal against such sanctions shall likewise be strictly submitted to arbitration, and not to ordinary courts of law.”
Fifa says any violation of these provisions will be punished in compliance with its disciplinary code.
Fifa has a precedent in sanctioning national associations for similar incidents. Venezuela, India, and Nigeria have all faced sanctions from Fifa after having what it describes as “third-party” interference in their affairs.
The most similar situation is that of Venezuela where its Supreme Court ordered new elections under revised laws as Fifa threatened to ban its association. Fifa responded by not recognising this electoral process.
The JFF said on Friday that it received copies of two applications seeking mandatory injunctions, one of which was withdrawn.
Beach Soccer Jamaica (BSJ) President Patricia Garel sought a mandatory injunction to be allowed by the JFF to participate in the election on Sunday.
BSJ, which is understood to be in support of Anderson’s slate, is not one of the delegates ratified for the election because it has not received clearance from the Companies Office of Jamaica to operate as an officially licensed business.
Garel’s attempt was unsuccessful because JFF’s lawyer, Kaysian Kennedy-Sherman, argued that this mandatory injunction would have been inappropriate based on circumstances.
Garel filed an amended application seeking an injunction to postpone the election until the final determination of her claim. This was also unsuccessful as the court ordered that an interim injunction be put in place for 28 days pending further determination by the Supreme Court.
“In light of the foregoing, the JFF wishes to advise that the Voting Congress of the Jamaica Football Federation, scheduled for January 14, 2024, is postponed until further notice,” the JFF said in a press release on Friday. “The Administration of the Jamaica Football Federation will continue to be headed by President Michael Ricketts and will continue to advise its delegates of any developments.”
BSJ would have fallen into “Pillar 3” of delegates. This pillar is made up of other football stakeholders such as Professional Football Jamaica (organisers of the Jamaica Premier League), the Inter-secondary Schools Sports Association, Jamaica Intercollegiate Sports Association, Jamaica Football Referees’ Association, Jamaica Football Coaches Association, and Past Players’ Association.
The first pillar consists of the 13 parish associations, which have two votes each. The second pillar consists of the top four clubs from the men’s and women’s premier leagues as well as the top four clubs from the men’s and women’s tier-two leagues.