Tappa's tap in
Whitmore integral to Boyz agreeing to terms with JFF — LoweSaturday, April 10, 2021
BY PAUL A REID
The timely intervention of senior men's team Head Coach Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore has been credited by a number of the Reggae Boyz as the critical determining factor behind their coming to terms with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in the long-running contract negotiations.
The at times bitter and public negotiations over remuneration and bonuses for the players threatened to derail the team's preparation for what will be a busy summer with the Concacaf Gold Cup and the final round of the Fifa World Cup qualifying campaign.
A number of the senior players missed the recent 1-4 loss to the USA in a friendly international in Austria but are expected back in the set-up after agreement was arrived at on Thursday.
Whitmore declined to comment when contacted by the Jamaica Observer, hinting that he will speak after the players had released their own statements, but indications are that the former Reggae Boyz star player, who swapped his head coach hat for that of an intermediary, is said to have played an integral part in the players accepting the offer in the interest of the team and the country.
Damion Lowe, one of the senior players and at times team captain, singled out Whitmore for the part he played, posting on the social media platform Twitter. “Over the past week, we have spoken with Coach Whitmore & decided that the best way forward is to go ahead with the latest contract terms offered by the JFF so that Jamaica can begin preparations and field the best possible team for the Gold Cup & World Cup Qualifiers.”
Lowe added: “The negotiation process was valuable in that it opened channels of communication with the JFF. We are committed to ensuring that Jamaica continues to perform well and improve on our Fifa rankings which now stands at 45th.”
Meanwhile, JFF President Michael Ricketts was said to be “overjoyed” and was quoted in a media release sent out by the federation late on Thursday as saying, “I am delighted with the agreement. Now everyone can concentrate on the most important element…Jamaica's football.”
He also hailed the players: “I want to commend the players and members of the JFF for a job well done. I look forward to every single individual working passionately to improve themselves and the team as we try to qualify for Qatar 2022.”
The release said both parties had arrived at an agreement “in respect of contract terms. The agreed terms relate to remuneration as well as player welfare which will serve to establish a strong basis for a harmonious relationship between both parties. Moreover, the period of negotiations provided a forum for the ventilation and resolution of some long-standing issues and more recent ones such as player welfare in a pandemic environment.
“The agreement signals the level of effort and commitment by everyone involved to realign football administration and standards in keeping with emerging international benchmarks. With this full agreement, all stakeholders can now focus efforts on the upcoming football fixtures and tournament preparations. Going forward, the JFF and players have committed to work together to galvanise public and private sector support, which are crucial to the national programme in this important year”.
No agreements have yet been signed, but it is understood that the players instructed their attorney to communicate an agreement on the terms arrived at during negotiations. The agreement will run for the remainder of this administration's tenure.
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