JIS News

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is seeking to build support in the United Kingdom (UK) for its football programme, which has a special focus on youth development and qualifying for World Cup 2004 in Germany.
President of the JFF, Creston Boxhill and Financial Controller, Carlton Barclay recently met with groups in Britain, which represent a range of interests in Jamaican football. These include former players, sport management consultants and agents, referees and supporters of the Reggae Boys.
The meeting, which was organized by the Jamaica National Overseas office, was held at the Jamaica High Commission in London.
“We see here (the UK) as our second home. Ninety percent of our players ply their trade here. We have an extended family here. This administration has vowed not to disappoint Jamaicans,” Mr. Boxhill told the gathering.
He said that while focus would continue of the qualification for the World Cup finals in Germany, the Federation intended to make the development of the game at all levels, a major focus.
” In the past, there was a tendency to focus primarily on the senior team hoping that there will be a trickle down effect. What we plan is for a programme for the redevelopment of the local game. We want to prioritise youth football and to strengthen parish and confederation football,” he stated.
According to Mr. Boxhill, a focus on the youth development would ensure continuity of the national programme. He said the new JFF administration had faced many challenges since it took over in November of last year.
Both Mr. Boxhill and Mr. Barclay agreed that football could make a significant contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and that it was a sector worth pursuing.
In response to questions about the Reggae Boys brand and the JFF’s merchandising programme, Mr. Barclay informed that a plan was in place to expand offerings in this area and the JFF now had a marketing committee in place.
He said marketing was one area where the advice of Jamaicans in the UK would be welcome. “We can really capitalise on the brand; it has good potential but we need to have the right vehicle, and the right help,” he stated.
The meeting also discussed the setting up of a Jamaica football supporters club in the UK, which the JFF team said would be welcomed, as such a group could provide the organization with important technical and moral support.