JFF, players yet to settle contract issuesWednesday, March 03, 2021
THE Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) yesterday reported that it is working ceaselessly and confidently with the players to arrive at an amicable resolution to contractual issues in the shortest possible interval, and hence it categorically disassociates itself from any and all newscasts exposing aspects of discussions.
The local governing body was forced to react after news emerged earlier this week that negotiations with players over contractual arrangements for the World Cup qualifiers, friendly internationals and Nations League games had stalled. Those reports claimed that the players are demanding US$7,000 for each of the 14 World Cup qualifying games plus US$1,000 bonus for each win.
It added that the JFF had offered US$2,000 for each game plus bonuses in what was reported to be a take it or leave it offer. For international friendlies the players are said to be asking for US$5,000, also with a US$1,000 win bonus, while for Nations League games they are asking for US$3,000; and if the team qualifies for the World Cup Finals the players are said to be demanding 70 per cent of whatever the JFF earns from Fifa, while the local governing body is said to have offered 15 per cent.
However, on Monday a statement emerged — purportedly from the players — indicating that a news item aired electronically on said date had a number of inaccuracies, and that it would be premature to make comments on an ongoing negotiation of such national importance.
It added that the players, upon request by the JFF through their attorney, were asked to keep details of the current negotiations confidential, and they were therefore exercising this responsibility to honour the request.
They further noted that they consider qualification to the World Cup and maintaining the country's top 50 ranking as an important responsibility, and that they remain committed to an amicable resolution with the JFF.
Meanwhile, the JFF noted that through a special committee, it deliberated and finalised a standard contract template to facilitate the engagement of players for the senior national team. The process started with a meeting involving the players during which information, including the plan, budget for the programme, financial position of the JFF and the financial outcome of the last Gold Cup and the international friendlies in Saudi Arabia, were tabled.
The committee reviewed a proposal from selected players based on this standard contract. On Friday a response was communicated regarding the proposal where a timeline of today was established to finalise the document and thereafter, the standard contract template will be offered to potential players to establish the pool for the men's national team.
“This approach being used is essentially a paradigm shift where players should aspire to represent their national team for the pride and the platform it provides to gain an opportunity to enhance careers or improve professional status, rather than the immediate commercial gains.
“The decisions taken are always incumbent on the ability to pay — placed in the context of the pandemic — the debt of over $238 million and the possibility of playing games without fans. We also bear in mind the enormous cost of air transportation and the depreciation of the dollar [Jamaican].
“This new paradigm also recognises the JFF as a business and must be fiscally prudent to operate as a going concern. It is expected the principles will be shared as the JFF implements the wider programme with approximately 12 national teams,” the statement said.
The local governing body said it expects that the contracts will be signed and returned by the end of the week, giving Head Coach Theodore Whitmore the possibility to select the best possible team for the upcoming international friendly against the United States on March 25 in Austria.
Whitmore had called on the parties to reach an agreement prior to the match.
“The game versus the US in Austria will be a very good test of our readiness as a unit. I do not want and distraction or side issues as we need to be 100 per cent concentrated. All outstanding issues must be resolved before then, as we are not guaranteed another [competitive match] opportunity before the Gold Cup,” Whitmore said on Monday.
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