Minister of Sports Olivia Grange and the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) have moved to address the controversy surrounding the funding of the Reggae Girlz for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
After the Reggae Girlz held Brazil to a 0-0 draw and advanced to the round of 16, captain Khadija Shaw spoke with Arsenal legend Ian Wright and stated that the team had resorted to using GoFundMe to raise money for their participation in the tournament.
Prior to their departure to Australia, a GoFundMe campaign titled “Reggae Girlz Rise Up” was launched by Sandra Phillips-Brower, the mother of Jamaica midfielder Havana Solaun, which raised around $US50,000. Additionally, another fundraiser contributed over $US45,000 to support the team.
Minister Grange said she personally reached out to Shaw to seek clarity on the funding controversy and cautioned her about the impact of social media activities on the country’s image.
Speaking at a Jamaica Athletics Administrative Association press conference on Wednesday, Grange disclosed that she “had a productive conversation with Bunny Shaw, the team’s captain, and received clarification on the matter.” She emphasized that the impression of the team struggling on their own and relying solely on the GoFundMe account was not accurate.
The JFF issued a statement on Friday, acknowledging the historic achievement of the Reggae Girlz as the first Caribbean team to qualify for the second round in a World Cup.
The JFF aimed to clarify any misconceptions surrounding the team’s funding and expressed hope that supporters would focus on the team’s achievements.
The JFF outlined the various sources of funding for the team, which included contributions from FIFA, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf), the Government of Jamaica, Adidas, the Bob Marley Foundation, Corporate Jamaica sponsors, and the Reggae Girlz Foundation.
The statement from the local body stated that “the JFF would like to thank these sponsors, as without their assistance the Girlz, and the other national teams, would not be able to prepare or participate in any competition, including the World Cup.
“We also want to recognize the technical staff and Secretariat staff, who all continue to work tirelessly in providing the technical assistance, organization, and working with sponsors to raise the necessary funds to sustain our national programmes.
Before the World Cup, the Reggae Girlz expressed their disappointment with the Jamaica Football Federation through a statement on social media.
The Reggae Girlz are set to face Colombia in the round of 16 in Melbourne on Tuesday.
Watch the video shot and edited by Marlon Reid as Minister of Sports Olivia Grange clarifies the situation.