Fri | Oct 15, 2021

‘Full hands on deck’

JFF with work cut out to deal with money issues

Published:Thursday | September 16, 2021 | 12:06 AMAudley Boyd/Gleaner Writer
Panama’s Fidel Escobar Mendieta heads the ball away while under pressure from Jamaica’s Kemar Roofe (right) during their FIFA World Cup-qualifying match at the National Stadium on Sunday, September 5.
Panama’s Fidel Escobar Mendieta heads the ball away while under pressure from Jamaica’s Kemar Roofe (right) during their FIFA World Cup-qualifying match at the National Stadium on Sunday, September 5.
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FACED with huge financial challenges, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will be drawing on the expertise of all its directors and finance committee to devise a solution. At the core of the JFF’s problems is its FIFA World Cup-qualifying bill,...

FACED with huge financial challenges, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) will be drawing on the expertise of all its directors and finance committee to devise a solution.

At the core of the JFF’s problems is its FIFA World Cup-qualifying bill, which has seen the sport’s ruling body here spend $110 million to complete its first three matches.

Worse yet, the team had no chance to earn a dollar, as COVID-19 protocols in the country forced a spectator ban for its only home match, an encounter against Panama on September 5 that the country lost 3-0.

One would expect that that result, and others in a winless three-game start that has only garnered one point, in an away 1-1 draw at Costa Rica, would number among topics for discussion by the JFF board. But with 11 matches left to play in Qatar 2022 qualifying, unquestionably, the most pressing focus will be money to finance the rest of Jamaica’s journey.

“We understand where we are and know that we need full hands on deck to discuss all the issues that we are faced with at this time, to include financial (issues),” Dalton Wint, general secretary of the JFF, said yesterday.

“As a board, we’re due to have a meeting at the end of this month, the 28th of September, where we will have the discussions.”

Wint, the man in charge of running day-to-day operations at the federation, said other groups within their organisation have been and will continue to brainstorm means of fulfilling its monetary desires.

REPEATED COSTS

“The finance committee continues to meet and have meaningful discussions on the way forward, along with the executive body,” he said.

“There are repeated costs that are here and need to be taken care of for us to be viable,” Wint said as he referenced costs associated with air and ground travel, accommodation, salaries, venue rental, COVID-19 expenses such as testing and establishing sanitisation stations, among other things.

As majority of Reggae Boyz are based overseas, and given that the team travelled by charter for two matches, travelling accounted for a significant portion of the JFF’s spend, $40 million in total, with accommodation next, accounting for just under $28 million.

For the lone home encounter, approximately $5 million was expended, with COVID-19 testing alone costing approximately $2 million.

To boost its finances, the JFF has suggested seeking additional support from the Government and private sector, plus regional and world football bodies Caribbean Football Union, Concacaf and FIFA.

What it craves most, however, is collecting at the turnstiles, which remains doubtful as Jamaica had been under three-day lockdowns weekly for the past three weeks due to rising COVID-19 cases. This does not forecast positively on the government relaxing its ban on spectators for football events in the country.

“One thing that we’ve had as an expectation coming into the World Cup qualifying would be COVID, and we knew of it all along,” said Wint.

“World Cup qualifying, gate receipts, is one of the things that offsets your expenditure,” he added. “But I think we are the only country that is playing now without gate receipts. So there is this great outflow, and little or no opportunity for inflow.”

audley.boyd@gleanerjm.com