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Jamaican players celebrate advancing to the knockout stage of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Just two months after the conclusion of a record-breaking Women’s World Cup and new ground, women’s soccer has been engulfed in another devastating crisis in Jamaican history with players refusing to play for their country of future internationals.
In a statement shared on social media over the weekend by senior members of the 2023 World Cup squad, including captain Allyson Swaby and star striker Khadija Shaw, the players in question said they were taking a “drastic stance” in an attempt to end “constant mistreatment” from their national governing body.
Members of the World Cup squad, the statement read, are still waiting for proper payment for their performances in the tournament and accused the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) of poor management.
The statement also accused the JFF of “unprofessional communication” and said the players only found out about their new head coach Xavier Gilbert through social media. Gilbert was an assistant to former coach Lorne Donaldson.
“We have faced this lack of communication, poor organization, poor management, and delayed payments from JFF time and time again,” said the statement, signed “With Love, Your Reggae Girlz.”
“For these reasons, we stand in solidarity with the hope of ending this cycle of mistreatment.”
In a statement posted on its website, the JFF said it had suspended any “selection of the players in question” until the contractual issues were resolved.
“The JFF is not comfortable with the players’ response and the non-attendance of the players’ representatives at a scheduled meeting today,” the statement said.
“The JFF is eager to clear all concerns that team members may have regarding contracts. If there is a complaint or concern, it should be put on the table to be addressed and documented by the JFF.
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Players from Jamaica’s World Cup squad have refused to play in the team’s upcoming games.
Jamaica is not the only team from this year’s World Cup to lock horns with its governing body after a tournament that set attendance records and saw new stars and teams emerge .
The Spanish national team, which won the tournament for the first time, put on a united front during a scandal that caught the attention of the world, forcing the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to make several changes afterwards. by President Luis Rubiales. ‘ unwanted kiss of star player Jennifer Hermoso during the medal ceremony.
Most of Spain’s World Cup-winning squad boycotted subsequent games to enforce changes by the governing body. After weeks of intense criticism, Rubiales resigned and former head coach Jorge Vilda lost his job.
Many of the players, including Hermoso, agreed to represent their country.
Jamaica made its own World Cup history, becoming the first Caribbean nation to reach the knockout stage of the tournament.
The team is scheduled to play the Concacaf Gold Cup qualifying match against Panama on October 25 and Guatemala on October 29.
On Saturday, the JFF Office has partnered an inexperienced squad for the team’s upcoming fixtures, missing many of its key players.
Only six of the 23 players called up for the two matches have previously represented the national team at senior level, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.
CNN reached out to soccer’s world governing body FIFA for comment but did not receive a response.
“Although this is one of the most difficult decisions we have had to make, we feel we have to take such a drastic stand to put an end to the constant mistreatment we have received from the Jamaica Football Federation,” the statement said. players read. .
It added: “We have not yet received the full and correct payment for our historic performances at the World Cup and the many outstanding bonuses for qualifying in the summer of 2022,” the statement said.
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Jamaica eventually lost to Colombia in the last 16 of the Women’s World Cup.
FIFA announced in June that, for the first time, about $49 million of the record $110 million in prize money at the Women’s World Cup will go directly to individual players – at least $30,000 each for participation and $270,000 for each player of the winning squad.
For years, the Jamaican women’s team has been fighting for better funding and working conditions.
The team disbanded in 2008 and 2016 due to lack of funding, but against the odds – and with funding help from Bob Marley’s daughter, Cedella – Jamaica qualified for its first ever World Cup in 2019.
Ahead of this year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, several of the first-team squads wrote an open letter to the JFF expressing their “extreme disappointment” at what they described as “subpar” conditions during the their preparation for the World Cup.
In a statement on its website at the time, the JFF acknowledged that “things are not completely done yet.”
Despite off-field issues, Jamaica’s players have once again defied expectations this year by making it through a World Cup group consisting of France, Brazil and Panama on their way to making the history.