'We need help, we're struggling'
JFF gen sec cries out for financial help after spending over $100 million for three World Cup qualifiersSunday, September 26, 2021
BY SANJAY MYERS
The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is quickly sliding toward a negative financial threshold unless it can get additional cash injection to help run its programmes, says General Secretary Dalton Wint.
The JFF, currently overseeing the Reggae Boyz World Cup 2022 campaign with the senior Reggae Girlz and other age-group competitions on the horizon, is grappling to make ends meet, effectively running on fumes.
Corporate support has been lacking, with the situation exacerbated amidst the global financial squeeze caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic.
An expensive start to the Boyz Concacaf qualifiers have seen the federation spend a shade over $100 million combined over three games.
“We need help, we definitely need help; we're struggling. If you continue to take from something and you're not adding then one day you'll reduce it to zero. That's where we're heading if we are not able to replenish the supply,” Wint told the Jamaica Observer.
The Reggae Boyz are disappointingly last in the eight-team final stage of qualifying with one point after a 1-2 loss away to Mexico, a 0-3 home defeat to Panama, and a 1-1 result in Costa Rica.
They have 11 games remaining, including a home fixture versus Canada sandwiched by away trips to the United States and Honduras, all to be played between October 7 and 13.
“After October we'll start getting to [the point] when we would struggle,” Wint stated ominously.
“We are using some innovative ways of pulling through, by deferred financing…but it can't continue indefinitely. One day those things will catch up with you. Some of the things we have been doing are to reallocate funds that were budgeted for other areas, and I referred to deferred payments,” he continued.
The JFF has sponsorship arrangements with investment and wealth management firm Proven, as well as distributing company Wisynco.
But despite the global appeal of the Reggae Boyz brand, and the acclaim garnered from the country's successful qualification for the France 1998 World Cup finals, the federation, which is currently without a marketing manager, has so far failed to attract additional partners for the 2022 bid.
Notably, there has been support from the State-run Sports Development Foundation (SDF) and the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).
Through a government subvention, the SDF gives the federation $3.5 million each month.
CFU, which runs football in the Caribbean, will support Jamaica's run in the octagonal Concacaf qualifying stage by providing a US$75,000 payment to the federation to assist with its hosting of games.
However, Wint, who estimates this World Cup qualifying campaign will cost at least US$4 million, confirmed that the local football body has requested additional funding from the Government to help offset expenses.
“Support from the SDF has been vital. Over the years the record has shown that we've got improved injection from the SDF during World Cup qualifier. We have written to them asking for some consideration for improvement of the allocation.
“We have had discussions with our counterparts and all of them have got significant support in this campaign from their governments, so we hope our Government will give us some support too,” he told the Observer.
“We do appreciate the money we are getting from CFU, but it's a drop in the bucket because there is still the need to bridge that huge gap that is there. We are on record to say that this campaign will cost us about four to five million US dollars. We have spent quite a bit already and there's still a lot more to spend if we are to have a successful campaign,” Wint added.
The Concacaf final round of qualifying comprises eight teams playing in a round robin, home and away format. Each team will play a total of seven home games during this stage.
The top three nations in the table will progress automatically to the 2022 World Cup finals, with the fourth-place finisher heading to an intercontinental play-off for one more spot in Qatar.