Mon | Nov 28, 2022

Sponsorship bounce?

New coach expected to impact JFF coffers

Published:Friday | October 7, 2022 | 12:09 AMLivingston Scott/Gleaner Writer
Michael Hall
Michael Hall
Wayne Shaw
Wayne Shaw
Dennis Chung
Dennis Chung
Reggae Boyz coach Heimar Hallgrimsson.
Reggae Boyz coach Heimar Hallgrimsson.
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Since the Michael Ricketts-led administration took charge of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in 2017, attracting sponsorship has been difficult for the federation. The failed 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign had very little corporate...

Since the Michael Ricketts-led administration took charge of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) in 2017, attracting sponsorship has been difficult for the federation.

The failed 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign had very little corporate support. However, many local football observers believe the arrival of new Icelandic coach Heimir Hallgrimsson will encourage the corporate community to invest in the current programme.

Experienced sport administrator Michael Hall does not think Hallgrimsson’s appointment will immediately change the image the Ricketts administration has developed over its tenure.

However, he is of the view that, if the Icelander can create a winning Reggae Boyz team, sponsors would be happy to join the ‘wagon’.

“I don’t believe this new coach is going to come and wave a magic wand and sponsorship will start dropping out of the sky. I do not see it happening.

“But everybody loves a winner, including sponsors. Good results will not hurt and I suspect that, if the team begins to win and they do well in the Gold Cup and the various competitions they are in leading up to the next qualification cycle, then people will come on board.

“It is sad to say but Jamaican people in many respects are wagonists and, when the wagon is rolling smoothly, everybody wants to be a part of it. So, let us see what happens,” said the Caribbean Premier League’s operations director.

Hall warned, however, that business owners wanted value for their sponsorship.

“The past couple of years, we have seen one head coach after another, and the performance of the federation, in my mind, wouldn’t engender any great level of confidence from corporate Jamaica to suggest that, if they gave sponsorship it would be properly administered and they would get value for their sponsorship.

“There has been very little evidence of that throughout the tenure of this administration,” he remarked.

He noted how Cedella Marley, the primary backer of the national women’s team, refused to put funds directly into the hands of the federation, and he believes it is really a trust issue.

“I am a fan of football and I am hoping he (coach) will bring about a change in the fortunes of the team. It is a high mountain to climb but I am pretty sure he himself did not come here to do sponsorships, and I do not think that is a correct assumption,” he reasoned.

Like Hall, Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) president Wayne Shaw believes a very competitive Reggae Boyz under Hallgrimsson could be the genesis in attracting sponsors.

He also thinks the federation is doing a lot of good things internally, which will encourage corporate support.

“It is like a new beginning (for JFF). The president is definitely trying to go in a new direction and there has been some positive changes internally with the hiring of the coach and then a likely new general secretary. So I am optimistic that, once we get the right results, sponsors will come on board.

“In every sport, sponsorship is pushed by results. Everybody loves a winner and I am of the view that, if we are winning, we will get sponsors. So I like the direction in which things are heading,” he stated. “And you know the Jamaican psyche, with an overseas coach, people will gravitate more to assist.”

Finance Committee chairman Dennis Chung, the man who is being eyed to succeed Dalton Wint as the JFF’s general secretary, disclosed that Hallgrimsson’s arrival has sparked some interest and, like Shaw, believes the internal changes will help attract new sponsors.

“We are trying to rebuild the (JFF) image and rebuild the programme. Internally, there are a lot of things happening to rebuild the organisation.

“I couldn’t speak of what the interest is or what has come in as yet, or any engagements the JFF might have had, because it is still early days yet. But there is interest.

“I think what is going to be attractive to people is having a good programme that shows that we are progressing and that we are moving in the same direction.”

livingston.scott@gleanerjm.com