Wed | Jun 7, 2023

‘Just quit already!’

Calls for JFF president to resign get louder

Published:Sunday | February 13, 2022 | 12:14 AMLivingston Scott - Gleaner Writer
JFF President Michael Ricketts
FILE JFF President Michael Ricketts
Reggae Boy Damion Lowe warming ahead of a World Cup qualification game against Mexico at the National Stadium in Kingston on January 27.
Reggae Boy Damion Lowe warming ahead of a World Cup qualification game against Mexico at the National Stadium in Kingston on January 27.

MAJOR CONTRIBUTORS to Jamaica’s football industry have said president of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), Michael Ricketts, should rethink his response to widespread calls for his resignation after Jamaica failed miserably in its attempt to qualify for a second FIFA World Cup under his leadership.

Michael Ricketts, immediately following the Reggae Boyz’s last World Cup qualifying match against Costa Rica, which ended any slim hopes of a revival of a disastrous qualification campaign, declared he will not be resigning.

Some sports administrators described the management of the qualification campaign as horrendous and insist the federation should be held accountable.

Former JFF president, Tony James, former Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) president, Stewart Stephenson, and former national player and advisor to the sports minister, Ali McNab, all agreed there is a need for change and that the president should look within himself and make the right decision.

Stephenson said the current administration had enough time to prepare a proper qualification campaign and after failing horribly, the honourable thing for the leadership, including the general secretary and the board to do, was to step aside.

“The performance was dismal and incompetent. You were expected to do a job and you have failed. If you have failed, you must step away. It is only decent and appropriate,” said Stephenson.

“The general secretary fell down on the job from the beginning. I don’t think he has the necessary technical competence for the job and it has shown.

“It (resignation) should start with the general secretary and the buck stops with the president. I don’t see any reason why, after getting every opportunity to prepare a proper campaign, they should not walk away. Both together,” he said.

He added that the board should also share the blame because they sat around and re-elected a team with no plan or vision.

“This board must accept responsibility for giving Mike [Ricketts] an opportunity for his second mandate when he had not displayed any level of preparation for a four-year term. He has been unable to attract sponsorship and has shown no vision.

“Board members likewise should go because they have failed as well,” said Stephenson.

He said it is time for new blood and fresh thinking.

“This federation has moved from one crisis to the next, one failure to the next, and from one embarrassment to the next.

“The time for change is now. You should pack your bags and walk away and allow new fresh talent to come and offer a plan for developing the sport.

“We need wholesale [change] because they have shown no appetite for the development of the sport,” he said.

“The country and the federation has been subjected to much embarrassment, so we have to be critical because we have had enough,” he added.

James said after a review of the campaign and some personal reflection, it’s up to Ricketts to make the right decision.

“That has to come from within,” he commented.

“You have to know why you went into football. If you’re in the football to really help and do the things needed for the sport progress, nobody has to tell you when to go. When you haven’t achieved, you leave,” he said.

Like Stephenson, he pointed to a total lack of vision and understanding of what was needed to properly prepare.

James pointed to issues such as the argument over players’ remuneration, the untimely influx of UK-based professionals with limited practice games, which had a negative overall impact on the readiness for the qualifiers as evidence of the lack of understanding.


“This was the assembling of the best-ever names in Jamaica’s World Cup programme but there was no understanding. There was confusion right throughout,” he said.

Nevertheless, he reasoned that the JFF wasn’t the only entity to blame for the debacle, as qualification requires the input of all shareholders.

“You cannot blame the JFF alone. Nobody wants to see Government involved in sports but Government has not taken football seriously. The Government wouldn’t come out and say that you (JFF) are embarrassing us, to a sporting body which has found itself in so much disrepute.

“Are they willing to let the sport suffer like this, because nobody is going to finance or trust this JFF,” said James.

“But to get the programme on the right level, you have to include the stakeholders who have been left out.

“Thirteen parishes cannot make all the decisions. How are you going to convince people you need good governance, accountability and transparency?

“You will not get buy-in into football until you include your stakeholders.

“So if his [Ricketts] real reason is to help the sport, no one will have to tell him that [he should resign],” said James.

Former national player, McNab, said the team fell woefully short of expectations, and that ineptitude was the cause for much of its problems.

However, despite emotions running high, he said it was best to review the campaign and make a decision on how best to move forward.

“We have an inept team with inept leadership and inept coaching. So we didn’t have a chance because we weren’t prepared as we should.

“It [calls to resign] is emotion talking. That is not how it goes. There is a process. There should be a post-mortem of what has happened and the best decision where the country and football is concerned made,” he said.

“Does that mean the leadership look at themselves and say we have done a poor job, we need to give somebody else a chance? But we have to look at it holistically and we see what is best for football,” he said

“My heart is bleeding because there was so much potential. So we must demand more of the leadership of the JFF and we must demand more of the players,” he added.