Sun | Mar 7, 2021

That’s more like it - Beckford praises JFF for measures taken to have more amicable negotiations with players

Published:Friday | January 22, 2021 | 12:12 AMDaniel Wheeler/Staff Reporter
Jamaica’s Damion Lowe and Leon Bailey celebrate a goal against Honduras during their Concacaf Gold Cup match at the National Stadium in Kingston on Monday, June 17, 2019.
Jamaica’s Damion Lowe and Leon Bailey celebrate a goal against Honduras during their Concacaf Gold Cup match at the National Stadium in Kingston on Monday, June 17, 2019.
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Sports management expert Carole Beckford says that she is encouraged by the initial discussions between the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the national senior men’s team as they work towards reaching an agreement on long-term deals ahead of a crucial year for the programme.

Her comments come in the aftermath of the meeting between the JFF and more than 20 national players as they began negotiations regarding player contracts ahead of the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifiers set for September. The talks follow the latest dispute between the parties that occurred last November regarding the payment for the two friendlies against Saudi Arabia and the recently leaked recording, which detailed the tense talks between the JFF and defender Damion Lowe.

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The JFF said yesterday that the players, including Lowe and captain Andre Blake, were presented with its financial statements as well as the objectives of the programme, with a commitment for all matters to be settled by the next international window in March.

Beckford says that securing an agreement as soon as possible will reap rewards, not only for the sport, but for other disciplines.

“I think the JFF, by now, realises that football is an all-important sport in Jamaica, and the investment that we make in football would make it easier for the other sporting federations and disciplines to get investment,” Beckford told The Gleaner. “We have to ensure that we have the best leadership, the most amicable agreement between our players, and the federation, and the best environment for the players to succeed in.

“If we continue to do well, as the players have been doing, and showing that they are committed to going to the World Cup, then I welcome this new direction.”

The team confirmed what it describes as positive discussions yesterday, in its own statement, and said that the JFF has made a commitment to send a proposal, which the players will consider.

“They have promised to share a draft contract, and we have asked that they give us two weeks after receipt of that contract for consultation and review. We consider this a step in the right direction,” the statement said.

However, the JFF has been criticised over its approach to the talks, which placed the two-game series at risk without an agreement in place. While Beckford acknowledged JFF President Michael Ricketts’ recent steps at mediation, she says that the JFF needs to change how such situations are handled.

“The JFF needs to ensure that the people that handle those situations do so with the best interest of football,” she said. “It’s very simple. The gaps in management and the JFF have come full force, and to his credit, the president is taking action to remove some of those gaps.

“But [with] that said, we have been complaining about the management of football for a very long time, and I don’t think that they don’t have the capabilities. I think the growth of the football and the players that they have available has surpassed their better judgement.”

daniel.wheeler@gleanerjm.com