Former JFF presidents give Ricketts the advantage
Former Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) presidents, Lincoln 'Happy' Sutherland and Tony James, both believe Clarendon FA president and JFF presidential candidate, Michael Ricketts, has the upper hand going into today's JFF presidential elections, because he is closer to the delegates.
Sutherland, the JFF boss from 1979-81, says although Stephenson is a 'creditable' candidate, Ricketts will benefit from his closer relations with the delegates.
"Mike Ricketts has been more in the thick of things at the JFF than Ambassador Stephenson and perhaps Mike has the better rapport with the delegates. But that is not to say that Stephenson is not a credible candidate, but Mike may more have the delegates with him," he said.
Sutherland admitted that 'football politics' will have a major influence on the outcome of the elections, but he insists that at the end of the day, the delegates will vote for who or what they want.
"It is football politics, not party politics. It is just who the delegates feel can do a better job in the short term. And it will be difficult for anyone who wins to put a stamp on the JFF, because the time is so short," Sutherland noted.
"But Ricketts has the inside track. He has been more involved with the running of the JFF than 'Stewy' (Stephenson) and has more connections within the JFF hierarchy and the parishes and that may stand him in good stead," he added.
Tony James, the football president from 1985-92, says he can't chose between the candidates who are both very close to him. But whoever wins, he believes they need to make fundamental changes to move the sport forward.
"Internationally, (Jamaica's) football has followed the wrong role model, and we need to redirect the JFF towards good governance and transparency. The FIFA tagline is 'For the good of the game', and I am always there to support that. Anyone who wins know they have my support.
"The election is really important, but the JFF need to stay relevant by quickly putting a professional layer of football on this amateur base we are surviving off. But the delegates have two clear choices, and football will vote for whatever they want," James stated.
"Football will only be the winner when Jamaica take their national sport seriously."