Ricketts defends large delegation at Women’s World Cup
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) president Michael Ricketts has defended the inclusion of several parish association presidents in the travelling party at the FIFA Women's World Cup, denying suggestions that they were invited as a ploy to win their goodwill ahead of this year's election for the JFF presidency.
Ricketts also addressed criticism around the omission of local women's football pioneer and chairperson of the JFF's Women's Committee, Elaine Walker-Brown, from the Reggae Girlz delegation to the FIFA Women's World Cup.
"Every single parish president, we decided that some will come to the World Cup and some will go to the Gold Cup, so every single parish president were offered a chance to either come here or go to the Gold Cup," said Ricketts. "These parish presidents give so much to football, so why are people critical when you reward them?"
"There is no guarantee (someone would vote for you) but somebody had to be here and we elected these gentlemen. Every single parish president, board member and director were given the chance to be here or the Gold Cup."
The JFF election is due in November, but it could be called anytime before or three months afterwards in certain circumstances.
The selection of Hanover Football Association president Sheridan Samuels as head of delegation for the Reggae Girlz contingent here, has also raised eyebrows, with some questioning whether or not this was another move to woo a voter in the upcoming election, while arguing that Walker-Brown, for her contributions to the development of women's football in Jamaica, would have been a better choice.
Ricketts said the decision was made in consultation with the team's coaches and others, noting that it was felt that Samuels should retain the role he had already been serving in, given his relationship with the players and the comfort and satisfaction of the coaches in his execution of his roles.
"The established protocol is that the head of delegation is the prerogative of the president. Elaine (Walker-Brown) was in Florida as head of delegation for that component of this trip. The organisation, had decided, because I do have consultation and the consensus was that the head of delegation now had always been the head of delegation since the CAC Games and he had developed a relationship with the Girlz and in discussion with the coaches, they were comfortable with him being the head of delegation because like I said, since the CAC Games, he has always been," said Ricketts.
"Elaine has been one of the pioneers for this programme and so we want to show her as much respect. I don't think there are any issues or in fact there ought not to be any issues with Elaine," Ricketts added.
Walker-Brown did travel to France to participate in FIFA's Women's Football Convention.