Sunday 16 February, 2020

JFF says all sponsorship money from Cedella Marley accounted for

JFF President Michael Ricketts.

JFF President Michael Ricketts.

The management of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), has moved to clear the air on how sponsorship money is spent, following the recent public brouhaha between the federation and Cedella Marley, the daughter of reggae icon, Bob Marley.

In fact, the JFF is distancing itself from “any possible rumours of financial impropriety” in terms of how sponsorship money for the FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign, has been spent.

The decision by the JFF to fully clear the air, comes weeks after Marley, a benefactor of the Reggae Girlz who made their historic FIFA Women’s World Cup debut in France in June, gave the Federation an ultimatum to account for how money she has given to the team is spent, before any more was forthcoming from her, or the Alcran Foundation.

Marley, in a public falling out with the JFF demanded that an audit be done. She also attempted to dictate how money that was raised for the participation of the Girlz at the Pan Am Games, be spent. The JFF had earlier resisted her dictates.

The public spat between Marley and the JFF caught many by surprise as Marley had been an official ambassador for the Reggae Girlz since 2014 and had raised millions of Jamaican dollars in sponsorship money that went a far way in their historic qualification for, and participation in, the World Cup.

In a lengthy statement on Wednesday, the JFF said it was seeking to "bring some clarity to a matter surrounding the details of the sponsorship agreement between itself and Marley, which has received considerable negative media coverage during and after the international tournament."

The JFF revealed that in 2018 the Bob Marley Foundation and Alacran Foundation jointly contributed US$237,876 towards the total cost of the Reggae Girlz’ World Cup campaign which amounted to a minimum of US$2 million.

The statement noted that the Foundations’ sponsorship figure was inclusive of US$63,000, paid to cover the costs of a pre-tournament training camp in Florida from April 30 to May 7.

“In 2019 a single sponsorship payment was made to the JFF jointly by the foundations and the terms of this sponsorship donation stated clearly that this one-time payment of US$78,000 be paid directly to the Reggae Girlz and coaching staff as a bonus for qualifying for the 2019 FIFA World Cup. The JFF honoured these terms and within the stipulated timelines provided,” the federation said.

The JFF also noted that its audited financial statement “clearly shows” that the US$63,000 received from the BMF/Alacran Foundation to support the Reggae Girlz’ World Cup efforts has been accounted for and expended, while the US$78,000 bonus was transferred directly to the Reggae Girlz and coaching staff, as stipulated by an agreement signed between the three parties on May 6, 2019.

“The federation is therefore dispelling any possible rumours of financial impropriety in relation to World Cup funding,” the JFF stated.

Commenting on the JFF’s partnership with the Bob Marley Foundation, President Michael Ricketts remarked that: “Cedella Marley has been an official Brand Ambassador for the Reggae Girlz since 2014, since which time she has lent a tremendous amount of support to the national senior women’s team.

“We are truly grateful for the financial contributions Ms. Marley and the Alacran group have provided over the past year. The success of the Girlz campaign could not have been possible without their support, specifically during the 2018 qualification stages.”

The JFF also moved to recognise its other sponsors for the senior Reggae Girlz’ historical journey to France. These include FIFA, which provided US$480,000 towards the Girlz’ preparation for the World Cup, the Jamaica National Group, Caribbean Airlines, Digicel, UMBRO, Supreme Ventures, Wisynco (Wata and Coca-Cola), Burger King, JP Tropical Foods (St. Mary’s ), Stewart’s Automotive Group, Honeybun, HERBS, The Jamaica Observer, UHWI, Sherwin Williams , The Ministry of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport and the Sports Development Foundation.

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