Thursday 19 September, 2019

New JFF president to be elected today

The eagerly awaiting annual general meeting (AGM) and voting congress of the Jamaica Football Federation will take place on Saturday at the federation's offices in New Kingston.

Two candidates - former JFF vice president and Clarendon FA president Michael Ricketts and Ambassador Stewart Stephenson, who served as president of the Kingston and St Andrew Football Association (KSAFA) until January - will face off for the JFF presidency.

The AGM is scheduled to begin at 11:00 am.

The agenda for the meeting includes an address from interim president, Bruce Gaynor; activity report of the JFF from its general secretary, Raymond Grant; finance report from the vice-president of finance, Garfield Sinclair and the audited financials for 2014, 2015 and 2016 will also be presented.

The AGM will be followed by the voting congress slated to begin at 1:00 pm. The agenda for voting congress includes an address by Gaynor followed by the election of the JFF president to complete the 2015-2019 term and a remark from the elected president.

Seventeen days before the voting congress, Ambassador Stephenson released a manifesto at a ceremony at the Terra Nova All Suite Hotel. The manifesto outlined plans for the short term and the medium term.

Ambasador Stephenson's short term plan is for the period 2017 to 2019 and involves a plan to establish a national football philosophy, which he said would lay a foundation for qualification to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. He also hopes to establish national Under-17 and Under-20 regional squads for Qatar 2022.

The medium-term plan is for the period 2017 to 2023 and includes a review of the national philosophy and national football development plan and reduction of the JFF's debts.

Ricketts has repeatedly stated that new approaches are needed to solve the JFF's financial problems, an issue that Stewart Ambassador also agreed with.

The Clarendon FA boss is also supporting the recent move by CONCACAF to implement a two-tiered football competition for affiliated clubs for Caribbean Member Associations, starting in 2018, as they ramp up plans to raise the standard of the sport in the region. 

Ambassador Stephenson is concerned by such move, which will introduce a Caribbean Professional Club Championship.

Thirteen parish associations will cast votes and checks revealed that up until Friday the eight associations that nominated Ricketts were still behind him.

Clarendon, Westmoreland, St James, Hanover, St Elizabeth, Manchester, Trelawny and Portland nominated Rickets.

Ambassador Stephenson was nominated by KSAFA, St Ann, St Thomas, St Mary and St Catherine.

The JFF presidency became vacant following the death of Captain Horace Burrell.

Captain Burrell led the JFF from 1994, excepting for a four-year period, and was at the helm of the organisation when Jamaica made its historic qualification as the first English-speaking Caribbean country to make it to the FIFA World Cup Finals, in 1998.

After ailing for the past year, Captain Burrell  passed away on June 6 at the John Hopkins Oncology Centre in Baltimore, USA, where he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

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