Marley and I have excellent relationship - Ricketts
Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) President Michael Ricketts has reiterated that the relationship between himself and national senior women's programme ambassador Cedella Marley is excellent as the Reggae Girlz prepare for their long-awaited return to competition.
Ricketts was speaking at yesterday's virtual press conference to announce that the Girlz will play two international friendlies next month in the upcoming US Soccer Summer Series.
Ricketts' comments were addressing Marley's criticism of his administration in a recent BBC Players Podcast interview with striker Khadija Shaw, as the daughter of reggae legend Bob Marley talked about the team's protest in 2019.
"It's going to take some time for us to change the mindset of the people that are running the Jamaica Football Federation. I don't know if it's going to happen in my lifetime or Khadija's lifetime. I think it's going to get worse before it gets better, because sometimes people just need to be exposed. It might be hurtful, but nothing is going to change if people aren't exposed," Marley explained in the interview.
But Ricketts' reply to Marley's comments is that there hasn't been any issues between them and they are committed to the long-term future of the Reggae Girlz.
"Ambassador Marley and I had never had any issues. So the truth is that I have no idea about those comments or whom they would be pointed at," Ricketts said. "But as far as I'm concerned, ambassador Marley and I have always had an excellent relationship. All I can say is that as we speak, we do have a proper relationship and going forward, that's certainly will be on show for the entire world to see."
Marley, in her statement regarding the upcoming friendlies, said that the games were a result of the work between the Marley Foundation, JFF and the coaching staff, and the commitment to advancing the programme.
"President Ricketts and the rest of the group are committed to doing the work necessary to craft a strategy that will give our senior women the necessary tools and opportunities to compete effectively at the highest level of international women's football," Marley said.
The Reggae Girlz are scheduled to face African champions Nigeria and world champions the United States on June 10 and June 13, respectively, in Houston, Texas. The games signal the start of preparations for the World Cup qualifiers, which begin in November.
Meanwhile, Ricketts said that negotiations are expected to begin shortly with the team regarding long-term contracts, with the federation looking to secure the girls' signatures before the start of the November qualifiers.