SPORTS DEVELOPMENT Foundation (SDF) general manager, Denzil Wilks, revealed that the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) has given its commitment to resolve an outstanding payment, which has led to the suspension of the $3.5 million monthly subvention the JFF receives at the shortest possible time.

The SDF wrote to the JFF notifying them they will not be releasing the monthly allocation for June after the federation failed to reimburse its US$50,000 portion of the US$105,000 owed to Professional Football Jamaica Limited (PFJL) chairman and PROVEN Investment Limited CEO, Chris Williams.

Williams was called in at the eleventh hour to assist with funding to arrange a private charter for the Reggae Boyz to return home from Suriname from their Nations Cup game, after faulty travel arrangements almost left the team stranded in that country earlier this month.

Although Williams has been fully compensated by the SDF, and while JFF has given assurance that the outstanding amount will be paid as soon as possible, Wilks insists the federation needs to clear the debt before things can return to normal.

“I can confirm that we have withheld funds and that it came about as a result of the Suriname incident.

“The Jamaica Football Federation and the SDF have a long-standing relationship. Football is the most popular sport in Jamaica. In terms of participation and people support, football is the number one.

“So we do think long and hard before we do anything to step in the way of the development of the game.

“But in this particular circumstance, when the federation finds itself in a position to pay what it has committed, then we can get back to a working relationship with them.

“We do have a commitment from the federation that in the shortest possible time they will pay what is outstanding,” he said.

Wilks said the steps taken, in this particular situation, were also a result of added burdens the foundation faces, while pointing that the many administrative mishandlings of the federation have become a concern as well.

“We do sense there are weaknesses because of the number of instances there have been challenging. We see the need to improve the administration but we have our own challenges to deal with and that is why we have gone to the extent we have. This is not a punishment but a reality that faces us. We will be in continuous dialogue with them because the women are in Mexico ready to continue their quest.

“Mr Williams assisted us and it has placed us in a difficult situation. But it is not like football is on the back burner. The circumstances are such that we had to deal urgently with the situation.

“Hopefully, we can upgrade and strengthen the administration so we do not have so many situations reaching us, and so this type of desperation doesn’t have to be resorted to,” he stated.

The $3.5 million, the most received by any local sports association, equates to just under half of the $7.7 miliion (US$50,000) owed by the federation, who must pay or lose next month’s allocation as well.

“Once the funds come back into the coffers of the SDF, we return to normalcy, subject to improvement in performance. The funds being withheld are being withheld specifically to recovering a debt.

“We have a commitment from the federation to make good. If they do not within that time, the withholding will take place until the funds are recovered. If they make good, then we return to normality,” said Wilks.

JFF president Michael Ricketts did not respond to multiple calls.

From the Jamaica-Gleaner