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Reggae Girlz in messy pay dispute

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They brought pride to the Caribbean by becoming the first female team to make it to a FIFA World Cup football finals, and in in the process inspired many a young player, but the pathbreaking Jamaica Reggae Girlz are now suffering the indignity of a pay dispute.

As of Sept. 2 the Girlz have not received a cent in payment since their historic entry and participation in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 in June, and they are now in a public argument with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and are threatening not to play in the upcoming Olympic qualifiers.

While explaining that the money is yet to be received from FIFA, JFF said it forwarded out of its own funds half of the cash owed to the Girlz to their accounts on Aug. 30, the date when full payment was due, but usual delays in bank processing have caused them not to receive their earnings yet.

“In our agreement, the money was supposed to be paid by Aug. 30 and today is Sept. 2. So in any legal contract, that is technically a breach, and up to now, I have not received any money at all,” midfielder Laureen Silver told the Gleaner newspaper.

The Observer newspaper reported JFF General Secretary, Dalton Wint, saying “No one on the team, to my knowledge, has been paid.”

“They might not have received it, but we sent the Girlz’ pay...remember, you know, how the transfer money is — some people will be seeing it and some people will not be seeing it, based on the bank. But we have sent half of the money from last week to all the Girlz that are contracted,” said Wint.

But with that 50 percent pay being likely to clear bank accounts by Sept. 3 onwards, the JFF’s worries are not over as the Girlz appear not willing to budge until full amounts due to them are handed over to all of them.

That is potentially troublesome for the cash-strapped JFF as FIFA is set to forward the funds on Sept. 30 but the Caribbean phase of the Olympic Qualifiers begin on that date and runs to Oct. 8, which means that the Girlz need to be in training camp weeks earlier.

“I am standing with my teammates, and I will not be participating if I get paid 50 percent, or even 100 per cent, if other girls have not received the money because it is not fair for only some of us to be paid and others aren’t,” Silver said.

Jamaica will host Group B of those qualifiers involving Barbados, Cuba, St. Lucia, and United States Virgin Islands.

Based on the Girlz’ performance in France, the JFF is reportedly to receive from FIFA $750,000. It is unsure how much of that money is to be paid out to players and what amount is to be retained by the Federation.

Updated 6:15 pm, September 5, 2019
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