JFF eager to raise profile with adidas partnership
RICKETTS...the partnership will support the JFF's efforts to develop Jamaican football at all levels and will facilitate further success at the professional level in the years to come (Photo: Observer file)

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is expecting a significant boost in its profile after signing a partnership with sportswear brand adidas.

In an attempt not to be outdone by the successes of Jamaica's netballers and track and field athletes at the Commonwealth Games, and the athletes at the World Athletics Under-20 Championships, the JFF and adidas strategically jointly announced the partnership on their social media platforms on Saturday, Independence Day, and it was largely met with positive stakeholder feedback.

Jamaica's Reggae Girlz's recent qualification for the 2023 Fifa Women's World Cup captured the imagination of the nation, much like it did almost four years ago. That was not lost on adidas, who saw an opportunity there to merge Jamaica's culture with its brand.

"We're delighted to be announcing this long-term partnership with the Jamaica Football Federation," Adidas Global Football General Manager Nick Craggs said.

"The country's potential on the pitch — of which the consecutive World Cup qualifications of the Women's team is a testament — along with the richness and global relevance of its culture, which resonates far beyond football and Jamaica's borders, make it a great fit to join our adidas international Federations family. We look forward to celebrating many achievements together while contributing to the progress and future of Jamaican football at all levels of the game."

With the Women's World Cup taking place next summer, and the deal taking effect in January 2023, it means the Girlz will have a new look when they take the field at the World Cup finals. It presents a timely opportunity for the JFF to use the team's popularity to have greater exposure for marketing and merchandising. Adidas is considered arguably the largest sportswear brand in global football and the expectation is that adidas' popularity will boost shirt sales, not only locally, but globally. This gives the JFF the opportunity for something it has struggled with in recent years — securing new sponsorship partners ahead of major tournament campaigns.

"We are incredibly proud to announce this unprecedented partnership with adidas and are looking forward to achieving great things together," JFF President Michael Ricketts said.

"The partnership will support the JFF's efforts to develop Jamaican football at all levels and will facilitate further success at the professional level in the years to come. The JFF is now a part of the adidas portfolio of international federations, joining giants such as the DFB (Germany), RFEF (Spain), AFA (Argentina), FIGC (Italy), and the RBFA (Belgium)."

Members of the senior national men's team, the Reggae Boyz, are also delighted with this deal.

Captain Andre Blake is excited about the partnership.

"I'm very very excited about this partnership," Blake told the Jamaica Observer. "I'm looking forward to doing great things together."

His sentiment was echoed by teammate Junior Flemmings.

"This is a huge accomplishment, to have one of the biggest [sportswear brands] on board," he said. "It will definitely give the federation a boost in terms of looking uniform and organised, going forward."

Blake, who is already familiar with adidas, as it is the kit supplier of his club, Philadelphia Union, in Major League Soccer, describes adidas as a "great brand".

He said that it is a top brand in world football and he prefers its kits to that of Umbro, which the national team has been wearing since 2017. However, when asked if he will continue to wear a pink goalkeeper kit, as he now does with Umbro, he said that the decision on colours will not be his to make.

This partnership not only raises the profile of the national teams but could also do the same for the JFF as a major national association.

After the failed Qatar World Cup qualification bid of the Reggae Boyz, public criticism of that team and the JFF had risen — especially after a number of incidents between both parties which gained negative attention — and so securing this deal could be a catalyst for the JFF to show the public that it should be taken seriously as regards doing business at the highest level, and in the best interest of its players.

Jamaica's teams, at all levels, will be sponsored by adidas through to the Fifa World Cup 2026 campaign.

BY RACHID PARCHMENT Sports digital coordinator parchmentr@jamaicaobserver.com

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