One month!

'Tappa' gives JFF ultimatum to address salary issue, other matters related to technical team

Observer writer

Sunday, February 25, 2018

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Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael “Mike” Ricketts says senior Reggae Boyz Head coach Theodore “Tappa” Whitmore has given the federation a one-month ultimatum to resolve an outstanding compensation issue that has been widely covered in some quarters of the local media.

At a joint press conference with Jamaica Olympic Association (JOA) on Friday, the JFF president suggested that a long-overdue meeting to discuss the issue of Whitmore's contract and salary package on Thursday was civil and cordial.

“I personally have had discussions with our national coach, Mr Theodore Whitmore. We had extended discussions yesterday (Thursday).

“For the media persons who have been getting it all wrong, we have a wonderful relationship with Whitmore… we had a meeting that lasted for close to three hours and at the end of it his pronouncements were: 'I am giving you, Mr President, another month to source where my increase in salary will be coming from. I will talk to you in a month's time,'” Ricketts declared.

When reached yesterday, Whitmore said that the meeting with Ricketts, which was attended by senior team manager Roy Simpson, was conducted in an air of civility, but refused to divulge the details of what was discussed.

He, however, admitted that he gave the federation “four weeks” to address his salary issue, plus other outstanding matters related to other members of the technical staff.

In response to Whitmore's one-month reprieve, JFF leadership conceded that they intend to have open discussion with the government through the Sports Development Foundation (SDF) and private interests to source additional funding to cover the sum the coach is asking for.

Whitmore had refused a $370,000 per month offer by the JFF last year, a sum that many thought to be an insult to the local football supremo who has grown as a coach and who has the success to underline his development.

“I plan to speak with the government to see if they can increase our SDF allocation and I will also be speaking with the PSOJ (private Sector organisation of Jamaica), I will also be speaking with the international footballing agencies to see how best we can raise the funds to meet Whitmore's demands,” Ricketts said.

The JFF boss has expressed confidence in getting a deal done to the benefit of all parties involved.

“It will be highly negotiable because he is in that frame of mind and he is in no way trying to demand of the JFF, and he says that in a month's time we will talk again as it relates to his salary,” Ricketts noted.

Also on Friday Ricketts said Whitmore seemed very inspired in delving into the general development agenda of the technical programme.

He claimed the issues of coaching and refereeing were among the key points that came out of the marathon meeting with the France '98 World Cup star.

“We spoke about coaching and how best we can keep our coaches together, have refresher courses for them, have a cadre of coaches that will work together that will coach together.

“We plan to set up a refereeing academy because we honestly think that we need to improve on the cadre of referees and the quality of referees, so we will be looking at setting up an academy as soon as the technical centre is ready,” Ricketts outlined.

The youth programme, the JFF president revealed, is also set to be a major focus in the near future.

“We certainly want to look at our youth programmes. Just today (Friday) we were trying to get an Under-15 team to travel overseas to get some experience and some exposure, and we (JFF leadership) along with suggestions from coach Whitmore and Roy Simpson, we are hoping that we will make a positive impact going forward,” Ricketts ended.

— additional reporting by Sean Williams

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