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GOLD CUP FOOTBALL: 'All has been settled' - Captain Burrell

Published:Tuesday | July 7, 2015 | 12:00 AM
JFF president, Captain Horace Burrell (second right) addresses members of the Jamaican media at the Ayres Hotel in Hawthorne, California, in the wee hours this morning. Others seated are (from left) Michael Ricketts, JFF first vice-president, Raymond Grant, general secretary, JFF and Winfried Schafer, Reggae Boyz head coach.

HAWTHORNE, California.
“All’s well that ends well.”

That’s the reaction of Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president, Captain Horace Burrell, following a late night resolution in a meeting with the country’s men’s senior national team that did not train as scheduled on Monday evening due to a money dispute.

The Reggae Boyz, here to participate in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, were slated to depart from their team base here, the Ayres Hotel, at 6:30 p.m. for a 7 p.m. training session at the StubHub football facility in Carson, Los Angeles.

However, none of the players boarded the bus parked at the hotel, with the driver waiting and their training equipment stacked at the front of the hotel.

GOLD CUP FOOTBALL: Boyz training session on hold

While the team did not train, some players took the opportunity to get in some exercise.

Darren Mattocks emerged from the hotel in his training gear and went running on the streets, before returning to the hotel all sweaty.

A group involving Michael Hector, Simon Dawkins, Joel Grant and Garath McLeary left with a ball and headed for some practice on the beach, before returning hours later, also sweaty.

Goalkeeper Dwayne Miller and a couple others went to get their workout in the gym.

It is not the first time the Reggae Boyz are involved in such a strike.

The last time, there was mutiny at the 2010 Caribbean Cup in Martinique. Similarly, the JFF acceded to player demands and the team won the championship.

In the midst of all this, Captain Burrell and members of his executive team, were busy trying to resolve the situation.

It took hours before the players actually gathered for another meeting of their own, then with the JFF hierarchy.

They went to and fro until in the wee hours, there was finally agreement.

Captain Burrell, other members of the JFF top brass and head coach Winfried Schafer then met with local media.

No player was available for comment.

The JFF president explained that they had offered up all 100 per cent of earnings from the Gold Cup to the team, with the players guaranteed 80 per cent, Schafer 10 per cent as per his contractual obligations and the other 10 pe cent for members of the head coach’s backup staff.

The offer, he said, was made prior to the strike action.

Burrell further said the negotiations had been taking place for some time, as they had been operating outside of a contract.

“We had a meeting with the senior players today as it relates to their package, their remuneration package and there were some disagreements,” Burrell said at the early morning press conference.

“It has always been our decision and intention to have contracted players for four years. But the contracts which were submitted to the players of the Copa America and even before the Caribbean Cup which was held in Jamaica, this was not satisfactory to the players.

“So they came back to us with counter proposals and by way of negotiations we got through the Copa America tournament. It was then decided that at some stage after the Copa America we would have something in place for the Gold Cup, followed by the World Cup.

“Now it ended up in this period, unfortunately, because most of our players are now overseas.”

Burrell continued: “Notwithstanding, the management of the JFF did their very best in negotiating with the players; players in the US, Europe and also in Jamaica and in the end we came here hoping that what was worked out would have satisfied the players.

“Obviously they were not satisfied and requested further meetings, which resulted in meetings after meetings, in terms of negotiating.”

Having arrived at a satisfactory decision, he said: “All is well that ends well. It took a longer time than we first anticipated, but in the end I’m very happy to report now that all has been settled and so all players will make themselves available for the start of the Gold Cup tomorrow, the first match against Costa Rica.”

He added: “Further, we will be putting in place - by negotiations of course - contracts for the upcoming World Cup qualifiers. We’ve told them that is to be signed off on the arrangements for the first two World Cup games to be held in the month of September.

“Thereafter we intend to put in place a contract which will cover the period of the World Cup qualifiers. It’ll cover that period until the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Hopefully we should not have any issues again.”