A pay dispute between the Reggae Girlz and local football governing body, the Jamaica Football Federation, is threatening the team’s participation in the regional Olympic qualifiers which begin month end.
The team is demanding payment in full for their historic campaign at the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France last June, before they agree to represent the country at the September 30 to October 8 qualifiers here.
And even though the JFF says it has already disbursed half of the funds to players’ accounts, midfielder Lauren Silver said that would not be enough for players to take the field.
“No one on the team, to my knowledge, has been paid and I am standing with my teammates, and I will not be participating if I get paid 50 per cent, or even 100 per cent, if other girls have not received the money because it is not fair for only some of us to be paid and others aren’t,” Silver was quoted as saying.
JFF general secretary Dalton Wint confirmed the money had left the JFF’s account so players should have already received half of their payment.
“We gave the Girlz some money the other day. As a matter of fact, the Girlz have received half of what we had owed them, so that is not true [that they have not been paid],” Wint explained.
“They might not have received it, but we sent the Girlz’ pay. Remember … how the transfer money is – some people will be seeing it and some people will not be seeing it, based on the bank. But we have sent half of the money from last week to all the Girlz that are contracted.”
Nineteen players, including Silver, are contracted to the JFF.
JFF president Michael Ricketts said the body was waiting on FIFA to dispense World Cup monies, and this had resulted in the delay of payment to players.
This, he said, had been conveyed to players, so the JFF had been surprised by the action taken.
“We have been in contact with the girls. We wrote to them last week expressing our dissatisfaction with how things have unfolded. Up until now, we have not yet received funds from FIFA,” Ricketts pointed out.
“We advised the girls that FIFA had indicated to us that the money would be made available at the end of September. The World Cup ended in July, we certainly thought that we would have got that money, maybe a month thereafter.
“We wrote to FIFA on the 16th of July making inquiries about the payment and we were advised then that the money would not be paid until the end of September. We wrote to the girls and we apologized profusely for it and asked that they bear with us and try and understand the situation.”
Jamaica became the first Caribbean side to qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup when they beat Panama on penalties in the third place playoff of the CONCACAF Championship last October.
Subsequently zoned with Italy, Australia and Brazil, Jamaica lost all three of their World Cup matches, while scoring a single goal.
In a letter, the team said the JFF had “disrespected our work ethic and our patriotism”.
“We have each upheld our part by being upstanding athletes and wearing our country’s colours with pride and respect,” the letter said.
“Yet, our federation has continuously disrespected our work ethic and our patriotism. We are simply asking to be paid – an agreement we thought was contractually obligated once both parties put pen to paper.”