Beckford: Parish Associations face tough decision
St Ann Football Association president Danny Beckford says the parish associations will be faced with a difficult decision on whether they should continue to support Jamaica Football Federation president Michael Ricketts, in light of the resolution to his defamation case.
Ricketts will have to pay more than $9 million in damages ($8 million in general damages and $1 million in aggregated damages) to football administrator Ainsley Lowe in a judgment handed down by the Supreme Court on Wednesday for derogatory remarks he made about the Sporting Central CEO in 2017 on a local radio station. The remarks came after Lowe had challenged Ricketts for the Clarendon Football Association presidency in 2016. Lowe claimed the election was unconstitutional.
Beckford brought up the matter last November ahead of the federation’s annual general meeting. He wanted to find out if Ricketts was planning to step down because of the impending judgment.
With the ruling now handed down, Beckford says that stakeholders from within the various parish associations must now decide if they still have confidence in the current leadership.
“Now that it is full-blown and out there, maybe it has to come from the parish level if there is a debate to continue supporting the president or chart a new course. He has run his course, he has run afoul of FIFA ... so let us at this time seek to have a different mandate going forward,” Beckford told The Gleaner. “That is one of the things from my standpoint.”
While not indicating his position on whether Ricketts should continue as president, Beckford referenced the results of the last election in which both the Kingston and St Andrew Football Federation (KSAFA) and St Ann FA abstained from voting. Beckford said that it will now be up to those same federations to see if they will continue to stand by him.
In handing down the award of damages in favour of Lowe, the court took into consideration that Ricketts was deemed to have caused harm to “his (Lowe’s) reputation as a private citizen, his reputation as a businessman and member of football society, his honour and to his core values and attributes.”
When contacted, both the president of KSAFA Wayne Shaw and the St Thomas Football Association president Wayne Thompson declined to comment on the matter. Ricketts also declined to comment but said that he had not received anything from FIFA at this time regarding any indication of disciplinary action.
In addition to the monetary restitution, Ricketts has until January 31 to issue a public apology to Lowe on Hitz92FM and in The Sunday Gleaner.