Yesterday evening news broke that the Jamaican national team playing staff issued a joint statement sharing their dissatisfaction and upset about the “subpar” treatment by the Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) in the lead up to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
This includes British based players, Khadija Shaw (Manchester City), Vyan Sampson (Hearts), Siobhan Wilson (Birmingham City), Atlanta Primus (London City Lionesses), Drew Spence (Tottenham Hotspur) and Shania Hayles (Bristol City).
The Reggae Girlz are currently preparing for their second-ever appearance in the competition after making their debut at France 2019. They lost all three of their group games against Brazil, Italy and Australia in arguably the ‘group of death’.
In next month’s competition, they again face Brazil, as well as France and Panama. The Reggae Girlz will be looking to improve on their previous performance by picking at least a point in the group and scoring more than just a single goal. Within the camp, they will no doubt be targeting the Panama game to do just that and with the likes of Shaw up front, they can be confident of achieving that goal.
The squad should now be focused on achieving that goal and have everything in place in order to do so but sadly the players themselves have been forced to share the following statement…
“One of the greatest honors for a footballer is to represent your national team. Qualifying for a second World Cup is something most never imagined or thought possible for the Reggae Girlz. At a time where we should be focused solely on preparing to compete on the world’s largest stage, we are unfortunately compelled to express our utmost disappointment with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF).
On multiple occasions, we have sat down with the federation to respectfully express concerns resulting from subpar planning, transportation, accommodations, training conditions, compensation, communication, nutrition and accessibility to proper resources. We have also showed up repeatedly without receiving contractually agreed upon compensation. We were told that all our requests and concerns would be resolved in a timely manner. Unfortunately, that time has expired and once again our questions go unanswered and our concerns unresolved.”
Also citing “extreme disorganization” and that they hope that using their platforms to share the situation so that their efforts “will be reciprocated” with “immediate and systematic change within our federation.”
And that was clearly the most politely worded way of expressing their feelings. I imagine there is another version of that statement which isn’t for public consumption.
The mother of international player, Havana Solaun, took it upon herself to crowdfund in order to cover the costs of staff behind the scenes including Analysts, Masseur, Medical Staff, Coaches and Physiotherapist.
Solaun’s mother, Sandra Lee Phillips, stated “I sit on the sidelines, a proud Jamaican, an even prouder mother of one of these strong independent professional women who represent their country for pride and love of soccer. I’d like to show our support by raising money to show our appreciation for staff and players for the amazing job they do in representing the country of Jamaica at the highest level.”
Maybe the term ‘shit show’ is a bit much, or maybe it is not. The one thing that I do know is that this sort or thing needs to stop. Whether it is conscious or not this leads to conversations of misogyny from within the JFF. We should be seeing more parity between men’s and women’s team, especially at international level. I could not imagine the Reggae Boyz going into a World Cup in the same position.
Let’s just hope that this is the kick up the arse the JFF needs in order to sort their act out.