Tue | Mar 9, 2021

JFF bosses should resign! - Fuller, Marshall call for sweeping changes after leaked negotiation tape

Fuller, Marshall call for sweeping changes after leaked negotiation tape

Published:Sunday | January 10, 2021 | 12:14 AMLivingston Scott - Sunday Gleaner Writer

Damion Lowe (left) leads the Reggae Boyz on to the field at the National Stadium ahead of a Concacaf Gold Cup match against Honduras in 2019.
Damion Lowe (left) leads the Reggae Boyz on to the field at the National Stadium ahead of a Concacaf Gold Cup match against Honduras in 2019.
Fuller
Fuller
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Former Reggae Boyz striker Ricardo Fuller is demanding the resignation of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) top brass, in the wave of continued support for defender Damion Lowe, following a leaked audio of match fees negotiations between the Jamaican captain and members of the JFF hierarchy, for the team’s two recent friendly internationals against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh.

The JFF representatives on the call, including President Michael Ricketts, General Secretary Dalton Wint, Vice-President Bruce Gaynor and Team Manager Roy Simpson, have come in for heavy criticism for their handling of the negotiations, which have been described as colonial, unprofessional and disrespectful.

Fuller further described the behaviour of the JFF top brass as disgraceful and believes it warrants their immediate resignation.

“It has been a long time, and one of the reasons we don’t qualify (World Cup) is because of the lack of professionalism and unhappy players,” Fuller stated. “Mr Ricketts behaves as if it is a norm and like it is acceptable, and it is absurd and pathetic. All these guys should resign with immediate effect.

“This qualification will continue to remain a tall order, so we must stop accepting this type of mediocrity as a norm and then expect positive results. As Einstein said, you cannot do the same thing over and over and expect a different result,” added Fuller, who won 72 caps for Jamaica.

The former Stoke City and Southampton striker added that overseas-based players within the national programme are much more exposed professionally and know what is expected of their administrators.

“Leon Bailey said it, if we do not qualify (for this World Cup) it is because of the federation,” Fuller reminded.

MANAGERS ARE CRUCIAL

Bailey’s manager Craig Butler also bashed the JFF for what he termed as its attempted intimidation of the players, and while he was full of praise for Lowe’s handling of the negotiations, he does not believe players should be placed in that situation.

“For some time I have said to the JFF whatever they want to speak to Leon Bailey, they speak to me, his manager, because that is how it is done everywhere in the world and there is a reason for this. The JFF should no longer deal with the players, they should deal with the manager of the players or an organisation set up with managers. People with years of experience and know-how that will be better able to negotiate,” said Butler.

Meanwhile, former captain Tyrone Marshall believes the situation highlights the need for a representative body for the national players, and believes contracts and other details must be agreed on well in advance.

“I think it is unfortunate that it comes down to this, that there had to be a leaked voice note to let people become aware. But this is an ongoing saga between the JFF management and players,” Marshall noted.

“I would love to see that situation change because it just put a damper on the programme, but going into a game thinking about football and money and all of that shouldn’t be the case. Whenever you are dealing with your country everything should be set before, you should know what you are getting before you come into the situation. It’s not coming in and hearing this is what you are going to get, it throws off your thought process to go and play at the highest level,” added Marshall, who represented the national team in 83 matches.

“Going forward, they need to have a plan in place. Have some type of committee that deals strictly with the players’ package, so they know ahead of time, so there is no confusion,” said Marshall.

Lowe’s father, Onandi, a former national representative himself, took a jab at Gaynor on his Instagram page, posting, ‘And to you Mr Patty shop .... careful’, referring to an outburst from the administrator on the leaked tape, when he took offence to the young defender making enquiries about the JFF’s finances and ability to meet the players’ demands. Former national midfielder Jermaine Hue also commented on the situation in a since-deleted post on social media.

The players, who at one point threatened not to take the field in Saudi Arabia, demanded US$2,000 ($287,000) for each match. During the recording, which took place some time before the players arrived in Saudi Arabia, an initial offer of US$1,000 ($143,000) per match was presented and rejected by Lowe, who was acting on behalf of the squad. The offer was eventually increased to US$1,500 ($215,000).

Jamaica lost the first match against Saudi Arabia 3-0 before beating their hosts 2-1 in the second fixture.

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com