'Ball's in your court' - JFF president Ricketts calls on Whitmore to reconsider resignation
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts has said that the body's board had restructured the contract offered to national head coach Theodore 'Tappa' Whitmore, before his resignation on Friday. As such, he adds that the board is unwilling to take his decision as final and is looking forward to continuing work with him.
Ricketts told The Gleaner that he has spoken to Whitmore since the resignation and the former national midfielder admitted that his decision was taken in frustration.
"I called him and asked him: 'Are you convinced that this is what you want to do?', and he said that it was out of frustration. I said 'Think about it and let's talk very soon.'"
Ricketts said that he is now hopeful that they can work out a compromise.
"There's a restructured contract on my desk and there are four other persons who were party to the new contract, and I am saying that I want to work with Mr Whitmore," Ricketts said yesterday.
He also addressed the rumours that Whitmore was offered US$3,000 (J$373,000) per month, saying that Whitmore is actually currently earning $500,000 per month, plus he has been given a car by the JFF and offered US$100 per diem for his travels. However, he wants Whitmore to let his conscience lead him forward.
"If I were to lead the board of directors down a path, I would say let us give Theodore Whitmore a chance to think about the resignation that he has sent to the JFF. Like I said to him, 'You resigned, Tappa. The ball is in your court. Do what you think is the correct thing.'"
The president went on to say that the correct thing would be for Whitmore to be patient and meet with him once more to discuss the updated offer.
Ricketts told The Gleaner that the contract offer was improved after the Ministry of Sport and members of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) agreed to meet to offer assistance.
"We have had one discussion and we are supposed to have some follow-up discussions. I will definitely have a meeting with [Sports] Minister [Olivia] Grange this week. I spoke to her personally and she said that her secretary will contact mine and we'll definitely have a discussion this week. The meeting with the PSOJ was more or less a preamble, so we will now prepare a document to have further discussions with the PSOJ, and of course, we've been talking with some companies."
Ricketts said that he believes that the JFF was "unfairly criticised" by the media for how the situation unfolded and gave his account of how the events occurred.
"In January, when we had the FIFA Committee in Montego Bay, I took the old contract with me and we had called Whitmore and asked to meet with him at my hotel. He agreed but did not show and I didn't hear from him until days after."
Ricketts also confirmed that assistant coach Jerome Waite will lead the team in its two upcoming friendly internationals against St Kitts and Nevis and Antigua and Barbuda on April 26 and 29, respectively.