Cedella Marley criticizes the Jamaica Federation and resigns over the treatment of players

Cedella Marley has resigned from her position as the Jamaica Football Federation’s (JFF) global women’s football ambassador in protest at how the organization has treated Jamaica’s women’s team, the Reggae Girlz.

Jamaica’s players are still awaiting full payment for the historic 2023 World Cup campaign, and Marley criticized the JFF in a statement saying it has responded to complaints by continuing to “defame, mistreat and vilify” the Reggae Girlz. She adds that the JFF has done this by “fostering a blatantly false narrative in the media without regard for the potential impact on the players or the program itself.”

– Hamilton: Jamaica’s fight for equality and respect in the World Cup

Marley has long been the champion of the Reggae Girlz and helped bring the team back together in 2014 after disbanding in 2008. She helped fund their 2019 and 2023 World Cup campaigns through the Bob and Rita Foundation Marley, a charity named after his parents. , together with business partners. Together they invested more than $2.75 million in the growth and development of women’s soccer in Jamaica. But she becomes increasingly frustrated by the JFF’s treatment of the Reggae Girlz.

Players said after the 2019 World Cup that they did not receive the agreed-upon payment for the tournament and started a “No pay, no play” social media campaign. Four years later, Jamaica reached the round of 16 of the 2023 World Cup, despite difficulties in preparing for the tournament with the JFF.

After their historic passage to the round of 16, in October, the players announced that they would not play in the upcoming international matches against Panama and Guatemala, taking the “drastic stance” to end the “constant mistreatment” by the JFF. They were expecting to receive full payment from the tournament, while they said they only found out about the appointment of new coach Xavier Gilbert on social media.

The JFF responded by suspending the players in question and said it was “uncomfortable by the players’ response and the failure of player representatives to attend a scheduled meeting.”

Marley, who the players view as their “fairy godmother”, according to international Chinyelu Asher, has become exasperated by the treatment of the players by the JFF and issued a statement saying he felt the JFF is “not even receptive.” nor interested.” in his “supportive way.”

“As an ambassador for the women’s program and a fellow Jamaican, I must express my disappointment and growing concern at the way the team has been treated, especially in recent months,” Marley said in a statement.

“The patriotism, professionalism and performance of the Reggae Girlz have earned them admirers and favors around the world. However, the organization that has earned the most [in wealth and public standing] From this he continues to defame, mistreat and vilify them at every opportunity, promoting a blatantly false narrative in the media without regard for the potential impact on the players or the program itself. The more this agenda is allowed to proceed unchecked, the more the future of women’s football in Jamaica will be jeopardized.

“With that in mind, I have decided that I can no longer associate myself or my family’s name with any organization that would oppress and manipulate those it is my responsibility to support and uplift. Effective immediately, I am resigning from my role as ambassador.”

Marley will continue to invest in women’s football in Jamaica, the region and the diaspora through its “Football is Freedom” initiative. She signs the statement saying, “To my Reggae Girlz, you know we are family for life and I will be here for you forever!”

Michael Ricketts, president of the JFF, responded to Marley’s statement by saying: “I am saddened by Ms. Marley’s unfortunate decision to sever ties with the Women’s Program at this time. We believed we had made significant progress in our discussions and We were eagerly waiting for the World Cup players to confirm their availability. We must thank Miss Marley and the Bob Marley Foundation for their unwavering support over the years. “We want to assure you that the progress we have made will be solidified as we move forward.”

JFF Vice President Raymond Anderson, who is challenging Ricketts for the JFF presidency, said: “This resignation casts a long shadow of distrust over the current JFF administration. It is now clear that there has been a deliberate effort to discredit our two World Cup Qualifier Reggae Girlz This team, a beacon of hope and pride for our nation, has been let down. In just three months, the JFF has managed to undo what Cedella Marley and everyone involved took a decade to build. “

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