JFF: Pay Attention to Womens Football
Pay attention to women's football
Published on December 28, 2019
Machel TurnerStatus is reachable
Sports Management Professional
In just over a month the Reggae Girlz will take part in the final stage of CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying. Drawn with world power Canada, regional power Mexico and fellow islanders St. Kitts & Nevis, most experts would give a full strength, well prepared Girlz team a good chance to make the semi- final. However, as it stands it looks like the team will be anything but well prepared.
Success under clouds
The team reached this far by dominating the last round of Caribbean Qualifying despite numerous clouds over the administration surrounding the team. One of these was a dispute between former head coach Hue Menzies and the Federation’s leadership over payment, which led to him missing these games.
These clouds continue to follow the team with coach Menzies recently announcing to the public that he would be leaving the post. This and other actions give ample evidence that women’s football is still not being tackled seriously by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) despite the overwhelming evidence of growth for the women’s football industry over the past 18 months.
It remains to be seen what will come of the announcement by Mr. Menzies. A new head coach has yet to be named, with the current assistants seemingly having some quite understandable reservations. We also have yet to hear the feelings of the team, who had formed a close bond with the coach and staff over their years together and who have also undergone their own public monetary grievances with the hierarchy. All of this is sure to affect their preparations for such a crucial tournament.
Same old attitude
Unfortunately, this feels like a continuation of the nonchalant attitude this leadership regime, and previous, have had towards women’s football in Jamaica. But what makes this stance more egregious is the fact that, through no work of their own, this administration had fortune fall into its lap with the Reggae Girlz’ qualification for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup. One would think that such luck would lead the administration wring this situation out to its maximum capacity and stake a claim for a legacy as the administration that really pushed the boat out for the development and success of women’s football in the island.
That simply hasn’t been the case. Since the team’s return from the World Cup the following negative incidents of note have taken place:
* It was a struggle to get firm commitment on the operation of a national football league for women, and when it did come it was rushed with some teams who wanted to participate unable to do so.
* Public dispute with the players concerning pay commitment, which received global media attention and almost derailed the Girlz’ participation in the Caribbean round of Olympic qualifying
*Failure to organise any games for the team during the November FIFA window, the team’s last chance to get real competitive games before the final round of the CONCACAF Olympic qualifying campaign
*The aforementioned issue with head coach Hue Menzies, While the continued not entirely surprising from a leadership that lacks vision, it is still disappointing. It is clear, if it wasn’t before, that the JFF has little clue about the broader global football picture and therefore cannot connect the dots to produce the best possible outcomes for Jamaican football and provide more money making opportunities for itself, players and the country through the sport.
Women’s football poised for growth
It is hard to fathom these missteps in the context of the rapid advancements being made in the profile of women’s football but in sports administration the JFF has raised incompetence to an art form. For context, over the past 2 years women’s football as an industry has experienced the following commercial shifts:
* In 2018, Manchester United, one of the world’s 5 most famous football clubs, started a women’s team
*The 2018/19 European season saw attendance records for women’s league games being smashed in Italy and Spain with big name clubs such as *Juventus and Atletico Madrid involved in these achievements
*This past summer, our Reggae Girlz were a part of the most watched and attended women’s football tournament ever, with a large swathe of Jamaicans being really introduced to the women’s game for the first time
*The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) in America was able to negotiate a television rights deal and a major sponsorship deal midseason due to the impact of the World Cup and are confident that they will have more offers on the table this offseason
*Real Madrid, probably THE biggest football club in the world, bought a smaller club and finally announced its intention to field a women’s team beginning in the 2020/21 season
*An amendment to Italian law was passed extending the status of professional athletes to women which has paved the way for the league there to become fully professional with full wages paid to all players in the women's “Serie A Femminile”
See the potential, reap the benefits
The fact is that sport and the demand for it is constantly growing. The men’s game, at this point, has covered the entire globe and made most of the impressions it will make. That segment of the market is almost exhausted in terms of revenue potential. On the flipside women’s football has massive room for growth and therefore massive revenue potential going forward.
The growth of women’s football is a priority area for FIFA and there are realistic prospects for Jamaica to become a consistently top 20-30 ranked team in women’s football in short order, due to our current positioning and the wide open nature of the women’s football landscape. This is just not a reality on the men’s side in the near future. Unfortunately, the opportunities available to us with women’s football, which do involve even more careful strategizing and execution, are being passed up by an uninterested leadership.
THERE IS ONLY ONE ONANDI LOWE !
"Good things come out of the garrisons" after his daughter won the 100m Gold For Jamaica.
"It therefore is useless and pointless, unless it is for share malice and victimisation to arrest and charge a 92-year-old man for such a simple offence. There is nothing morally wrong with this man smoking a spliff; the only thing wrong is that it is still on the law books," said Chevannes.
Last edited by Sir X : January 15th, 2020 at 08:43 AM.
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