The ongoing payment situation between Jamaica’s senior national women’s team and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has escalated to higher levels.
Head coach Hue Menzies has threatened to resign from his post, along with members of the technical staff if they are not paid what they are owed.
In a letter addressed to the Jamaica Football Federation on September 6, Menzies and the other coaches have indicated that they will not be part of the team if the federation doesn’t honour its contractual obligation to them by September 25.
The JFF then responded to the letter on Wednesday, indicating that it is prepared to proceed without Menzies and the staff if there is no improvement in the situation come the deadline.
“We have taken note of the position that you have posited, that if the technical staff is not paid in full by September 25, 2019, that the addressees of this letter will not agree to the federation’s terms. Accordingly, the federation will seek to appoint available individuals to fulfil the required positions for a technical staff to meet the Concacaf Women’s Olympic qualifying dates,” the JFF’s letter read.
“We assure you that all funds will be transferred to your accounts by the above-mentioned period we have stated.”
The letter was signed by General Secretary Dalton Wint.
JFF president Michael Ricketts said that he was surprised by the stance taken by the coaching staff as they were told earlier of the body’s goal to pay the team and the staff by the end of September.
“They have always, like the Girlz, been told that we are waiting for the disbursement from FIFA, which FIFA said we would get at the end of September,” Ricketts told The Gleaner yesterday. “And they had agreed that [we] deal with the Girlz first and then you deal with us. So it is kind of a surprise that we got this letter from them last week.”
Alternative Arrangements Ricketts said that although the JFF is prepared to make alternative arrangements if necessary, he hopes that such measures will not be necessary.
“If we are in a position to pay, then I suppose it’s fine, but if we are not, then we have to put contingency plans in place in the event that we are unable to pay them, and they have said that they will not be a part of the programme in the absence of payment. So, of course, we can’t sit and wait,” he said.
The action taken by Menzies and the technical staff comes after last week’s social-media posting by players, including Lauren Silver, (sisters) Allyson and Chantelle Swaby, and Khadija Shaw, declaring that they will not be participating in any future games unless they are paid the monies owed to them, with the hashtag #NoPlayNoPay accompanying the posts. They have since been paid half of what they are owed, and Ricketts said that the JFF is doing everything it can to pay the other half of the total sum, which he said amounts to US$120,000 (just over J$16 million).
“We are working assiduously to identify some funds. We are definitely going to try and find that between now and the end of September,” he said.
Jamaica is expected to compete in the Olympic qualifiers, which run from September 30 to October 8, but with the position of the players, and now the coaching staff, the team’s participation is in serious jeopardy. The latest development has further compounded the strained relationship between the team and the federation.