Gov’t watching JFF election saga closely, says permanent secretary
Denzil Thorpe, the permanent secretary in the Ministry of Sports, says they are closely monitoring the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the issues surrounding it, especially after the election was delayed due to a 28-day court injunction.
The elections were initially scheduled for Sunday, January 14, at Rusea’s High in Hanover. However, the postponement occurred due to an injunction granted by the Supreme Court following an appeal made on behalf of Pat Garel of Beach Soccer Jamaica.
Garel asserted in papers filed in the Supreme Court that they are the original administrators of beach football in the country and should be allowed to vote in the election. However, the JFF recognised a relatively new organisation, Beach Football Jamaica Limited (BFJL), as the eligible entity to vote.
Incumbent Michael Ricketts is being challenged for the post of president by Raymond Anderson, vice-president of the JFF.
Thorpe told the Jamaica Observer that though the Ministry of Sports is monitoring the situation, the matter is delicate, and they cannot interfere in the dealings of the organisation.
“I have listened, but as you will rightly know, FIFA does not look favourably on governments interfering in FIFA’s business, and we leave it at that,” said Thorpe.
“What we will do when things like this happen is allow FIFA to do what they do, or otherwise, they would lock us down like how they would have locked down countries before and prevented football from being played,” he said.
FIFA’s rules prohibit any form of government intervention in football on a national basis.
In 2022, FIFA suspended Zimbabwe’s and Kenya’s memberships over government interference in their countries’ football associations. While suspended, Kenya and Zimbabwe did not receive any funding from FIFA, and their football teams were not allowed to play in any matches organised by FIFA or the Confederation of African Football.
Thorpe’s cautious optimism and commitment to due process were evident as he spoke.
“Naturally, we are paying keen attention to what is happening, but we will await the outcome,” he said.
“We are not going to speculate on anything, so what we will do is watch the process and await the outcome. I anticipate that it will eventually play out for sure. But how it is going to play, we don’t know. We will wait to see what happens,” he said.