Thu | Jul 29, 2021

Spend wisely - Former national women’s coach advises JFF to put FIFA relief funds to proper use

Published:Monday | July 6, 2020 | 12:00 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Action between Arnett Gardens Women’s FC and Waterhouse Women’s FC during the Jamaica Football Federation Women’s League midseason final at Winchester Park on Saturday, August 18, 2018.

Former national women’s football team head coach Charles Edwards says the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) should use funds provided by FIFA to stabilise the national team and the Women’s Premier League.

This funding of US$500,000 (J$70 million) and US$1 million (J$140 million) was given to the JFF by FIFA for its women’s and men’s football programmes, respectively, as relief because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Edwards says the JFF must take the responsibility of generating support for the Women’s Premier League for it to be sustainable over a long period.

“It is a good deed for FIFA to be recognising, within this time of the pandemic, that a lot of federations are in need of support, and it’s a very good gesture towards our federation,” he said. “Over the last year or two, we have been struggling with the women’s programme in terms of paying salaries, paying the coaches, and running the league.

“So once used wisely, it could be a good relief for the payments that are outstanding, if there are any, or for putting payments in place to go forward, also to put together and restructure the league in a very good and efficient way,” he said.

Edwards says that as this is a one-off relief fund by FIFA, he is still concerned about how the federation will sustain the league in the future.

“Women’s football struggles for recognition in this country despite the people who have worked tirelessly behind the scenes,” he said. “It would be nice to see a programme or structure put in place for sustainability, and I am hoping that this temporary relief will allow them to fix that problem.”

Although the JFF has had a number of issues regarding funding and remuneration over the last two years, Edwards remains hopeful that it will try to get it right this time.

“The administrators here, do we have confidence in them?” he asked. “They certainly have not put the right foot forward, but they have been in office a long time and have seen what is going on.

“I’m hoping and praying they will put the right foot forward and put the funds in the right places to get the programme going right.

“This is not the time to be bashing down; this is the time for us to be knitting together and giving a helping hand or advice to get the programme going in the right direction.”