JFF pres­i­den­tial poll a big deal!

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -


THIS WEEK­END, a new head of the Ja­maica Foot­ball Fed­er­a­tion (JFF) will be cho­sen. For many years, our foot­ball pro­gramme con­sisted mainly of lo­cal com­pe­ti­tions and a few in­ter­na­tional matches.

In 1994, the late Cap­tain Ho­race Bur­rell be­came pres­i­dent. Bur­rell, a man with big ideas, took Ja­maica’s Reg­gae Boys to the finals of the World Cup in 1998 – a first for any English-speak­ing Caribbean na­tion. The feel-good fac­tor in this coun­try was in­cal­cu­la­ble.

To­day, foot­ball is the world’s most pop­u­lar game. The top three clubs all have a value well in ex­cess of US$3.5 bil­lion. FIFA is the or­gan­i­sa­tion that is in charge. FIFA’s mon­e­tary in­flu­ence is felt ev­ery­where in the world. Its 209 mem­bers are lo­cated through grants and bonuses stem­ming from prof­its linked to the World Cup. FIFA is a multi­bil­lion-dol­lar cor­po­ra­tion.

When Brazil hosted the most re­cent World Cup event, it was es­ti­mated that the eco­nomic im­pact could range from US$3 bil­lion to US$14 bil­lion. The tour­na­ment might have added nearly US$30 bil­lion to that coun­try’s GDP be­tween 2010 and 2014, gen­er­at­ing 3.63 mil­lion jobs – an­nu­ally – dur­ing that pe­riod and rais­ing an ad­di­tional US$8 bil­lion in tax rev­enues.

I say all that to say this: We are talk­ing about a big, so­phis­ti­cated busi­ness that is far more than some men kick­ing balls. Foot­ball skill alone is not go­ing to get us where we are able to go in this sport. The head of this or­gan­i­sa­tion will, from time to time, be re­quired to nav­i­gate a va­ri­ety of eco­nomic, strate­gic, cul­tural, racial, and ide­o­log­i­cal cur­rents. He will need, to make pre­sen­ta­tions to grant-mak­ing bod­ies and par­tic­i­pate in the res­o­lu­tion of po­lit­i­cal and eth­i­cal is­sues.

Two crit­i­cal pre­req­ui­sites, there­fore, are a clar­ity and com­fort with le­gal mat­ters and ex­pe­ri­ence in diplo­macy.

It is my hope that the envy and ‘bad’ mind that some­times in­form these events do not sur­face in mak­ing this im­por­tant de­ci­sion. GLENN TUCKER glen­ntucker2011@gmail.com

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