Donaldson: There was no discussion
I thought we were going to meet, whatever our differences were, or at least address it and talk about it, says former Reggae Girlz coach
Former Reggae Girlz coach Lorne Donaldson is very disappointed with how his contract renewal talks with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) were handled last Friday. Donaldson insisted that although he and members of the hierarchy had their...
Former Reggae Girlz coach Lorne Donaldson is very disappointed with how his contract renewal talks with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) were handled last Friday.
Donaldson insisted that although he and members of the hierarchy had their differences, he thought the way the brief meeting between himself, general secretary Dennis Chung and his secretary was handled lacked professionalism.
“.... It wasn’t a meeting, we just met. It lasted less than five minutes actually,” he declared.
A JFF release said that the parties had mutually agreed to sever ties but Donaldson insists he was never given a reason for the decision and he never got a chance to make a case for himself, as there was no discussion.
“I walked in. I reached across and shook his hand and for the first time, in writing or words, he said congratulations on the World Cup,” Donaldson revealed.
He said Chung then said something about the Olympic qualification tie defeat by Canada to which he responded that it was always going to be a tough game and they have come a long way since their 9-0 defeat to the same opponents two years ago.
“His (Chung) next line was, the contract is up on the 30th (September), which is tomorrow (Saturday), and then he said we will not renew the contract.
“I looked him in the eye and he said nothing more than we will not renew the contract.
“He then said there will be no discussion on anything and he said it twice and I wished him good luck and I just walked out,” Donaldson said.
However, he thought the handling off the matter was distasteful, as he believed they could have discussed his renewal situation properly with differences aside.
“I flew back from Canada to Jamaica because I thought we were going to meet whatever our differences were or at least address it and talk about it.
On a professional level, you would at least think there would be a meeting or at least some dialogue,” he reasoned.
According to sources within the federation, Donaldson was let go because he disrespected JFF Women’s football chairman Elaine Walker-Brown, after insisting she should not travel on the team bus for an excursion into the rural area in June.
They said he also failed to attend a meeting to enquire into that matter prior to their World Cup departure.
Though he admitted the Walker-Brown situation could have been handled more delicately he pointed out that a lot of things were brewing in the background between the federation and the players at the time and he was just being the messenger for the players.
“The Mrs Walker-Brown incident could have been handled differently but there was a lot of stuff leading up to that incident. But I did not tell her she cannot go on the bus. I told her if she went on the bus, the players were going to walk off. I was trying to avoid the embarrassment because there was a major camera crew outside.
“So she was free to walk on the bus and test whatever the players said. But it was the players who asked me to tell her that. So I had nothing (against her),” he stated.
He explained also that there were a number of things that made it difficult for him to attend the enquiry
“At that time they didn’t give us 24 hours to meet. They said I should bring a representative but he could not make it.
“But for a meeting you need to give somebody 24 hours and I was leaving the next day. It was right at the time of the World Cup and we had to get on with it. So I had to travel the next day and I told them while I could not make it to the meeting and we could reschedule by Zoom or whatever,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chung refused to respond, noting it was a private meeting with staff and that they do not discuss contracts publicly.
“Not the professional thing to do. We have sent out the release,” he commented.