October 30 – The Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) says the Reggae Girlz have now been paid their World Cup bonuses after the players that qualified for the round of 16 at the 2023 World Cup boycotted en masse call-ups for the Concacaf W Gold Cup qualifiers.
The team said the JFF had not paid World Cup bonuses in full and accused the JFF of recurrent bad management, pointing to its chronic record of underfunding their women’s team despite increased prize money from FIFA.
FIFA had set a short deadline for the federations of the 32 World Cup finalists to pay out their players, even though FIFA president Gianni Infantino said his organisation could not guarantee the payments to players.
In a statement, the JFF said that it “is pleased to advise that, as committed, we have now paid in full balances due to the Women’s World Cup Team. We will also start processing payments to all players who played in the qualifying rounds but were not in the final World Cup squad. We are always grateful for the contribution made by all our players and are happy that we have been able to settle these outstanding amounts.”
The statement was made by the JFF a day before a makeshift team was sent out to play Guatemala in Jamaica’s second group qualification game for the W Gold Cup in February. The team carved out a 2-2 draw providing a lifeline for the Reggae Girlz to the finals
Jamaica lost their first match away to Panama and are bottom of the three-team group that will see group winners qualify directly for the 12-team finals in Southern California that will also South America’s top four teams join Concacaf’s top eight.
Without a single player from the World Cup team, the Jamaicans were behind early against the Guatemalans before taking a 2-1 lead in the second half. Guatemala equalised for the nations.
Jamaica have two games left and a win in both games would see them through.
The question remains as to whether they will be able to persuade their World Cup stars to return and whether those players trust the federation enough to do so. The JFF has rarely kept its promises under controversial president Michaal Ricketts.
Jamaica were one of the standout performers at the recent Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, reaching the knockout phase for the first time before falling to Colombia 1-0 in Melbourne.
In a repeat of the 2019 Women’s World Cup, the Jamaican women’s team had to fundraise a part of their journey to the tournament and after their elimination by Colombia, then coach Lorne Donaldson cast serious doubt over whether things would change for the team in the future.
What did change was that he was replaced, with the team finding out they had a new coach on social media.
Concacaf have worked hard to create the W Gold Cup and playing it without a full strength Jamaican team would be a disappointment both for the elite nation development objectives within the region, and for the women’s game generally.
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