Audley Boyd, Assistant Editor - Sport
THE Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will be looking to establish a better relationship with the clubs of United Kingdom-based Reggae Boyz.
Captain Horace Burrell, the JFF president, made the disclosure ahead of his planned visit to the United Kingdom this week.
"We will be speaking to the management of the clubs from where our players now ply their trade.
"Only recently, the management of one of the clubs made some comments which we consider very unfortunate, but a situation we think will be confidently resolved through dialogue," Burrell told The Gleaner in relation to an issue concerning Leeds United manager Neil Warnock.
The latter criticised the JFF after the World Cup Qualifying (WCQ) football match against Antigua & Barbuda, accusing the local federation of playing national midfielder Rodolph Austin though he was injured.
Austin, who sustained an injury while playing for Leeds United and had missed Jamaica's previous match, a 2-1 loss against Guatemala, provided the pass for striker Dane Richards' important third goal, after a drive to the by-line and a pinpoint cutback.
"Rudy has an ankle injury which he was carrying when Jamaica asked him to play. Because he is a big-hearted lad, he will have said 'yes'," Warnock had told UK-based publication the Daily Star (www.dailystar.co.uk).
"If he is not 100 per cent fit, then he shouldn't play. But the pressure these people put on him must be horrendous," Warnock added. "You don't want to let your country down."
Austin then returned late for Leeds' fixture against Sheffield Wednesday and was substituted at half-time.
Warnock was displeased with the time of the player's mode of travel, indicating that the JFF should have flown Austin first class to ensure a more comfortable flight, in lieu of his injury.
"The Jamaican FA gave him an economy flight home and that's scandalous," Warnock had said.
However, Burrell said such issues can be resolved another way to foster harmonious relations.
"My experience in football administration has taught me that it is very important to maintain good relationships with clubs and national associations because you never want to do anything that is going to affect the players' future, and you never want the clubs not to be willing to release the players when required, as per the FIFA requirements," said Burrell, who has served as JFF president for close to 15 years.
"I believe everything can be amicably resolved through dialogue. That is part of my mission to the United Kingdom," Burrell reasoned.
The JFF president is scheduled to leave the island tomorrow for the United Kingdom, and along with Reggae Boyz head coach Theodore Whitmore and his deputy, Alfredo Montesso, will meet with a number of players with an intention of strengthening the men's senior national football team for next year's six-nation CONCACAF WCQ.
Three will automatically qualify, while a fourth country will play off in a two-way home and away series against the Oceania champions for another spot in the 2014 Brazil Finals.