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Jamaican players dispute federation’s claims about World Cup payments

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Jamaica's Khadija Shaw arrives at the stadium prior to a FIFA Women's World Cup match on Aug. 2. (Alex Pantling/FIFA via Getty Images)

Two Jamaica women’s national team members have said that “a number of players” still have not been paid their 2023 World Cup dues in full, in contrast to a statement given by the Jamaica Football Federation in October.

Jamaica goalkeeper Rebecca Spencer and forward Khadija “Bunny” Shaw claimed that some of the Reggae Girlz were still awaiting payments from the JFF in an interview with the Jamaican TV station SportsMax on Dec. 2.

“I can say that we haven’t [been fully compensated,] even up until now. I think that a number of players are missing payments back from February time,” Spencer said on “SportzMax Zone.”

Spencer’s statement contradicts a press release released by the JFF on Oct. 27, in which the federation states that it has indeed paid its World Cup team in full. Jamaica’s World Cup run included a number of firsts for the team: its first point, its first win and its first appearance in the knockout stage.

“The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) is pleased to advise that, as committed, we have now paid in full balances due to the Women’s World Cup Team,” the JFF said in the statement. “We will also start processing payments to all players who played in the qualifying rounds but were not in the final World Cup squad.”

Just three days before the JFF announced its completed payments, the organization said in a statement that it did not have the funds necessary to pay the players what they were owed. The federation had received just $1.2 million of its $1.8 million in prize money from FIFA, per the statement, and would not be able “to afford to pay out funds we have not received.”

In the space of three days, though, the JFF claimed to have distributed the outstanding payments to players.

Jamaican players have spoken out against the JFF on multiple occasions, citing poor communication from the federation, a general lack of support and insufficient compensation for their work, among other things.

On June 15, many Reggae Girlz players, including Spencer, posted a letter to social media outlining grievances against the JFF.

“On multiple occasions, we have sat down with the federation to respectfully express concerns resulting from subpar planning, transportation, accommodations, training conditions, compensation, communication, nutrition, and accessibility to proper resources. We have also showed up repeatedly without receiving contractually agreed upon compensation. We were told that all our requests and concerns would be resolved in a timely manner,” the letter states.

Still, more than a month after the JFF claimed to have paid the “full balances” due to the Reggae Girlz, players are saying that is not the case.

“I think it’s just very unfortunate because it’s not even about the money. I think it’s about having good communication,” Shaw said on “SportsMax Zone.”

Spencer believes that communication breakdown could be at the root of the issues between the JFF and the women’s national team.

“I think as a group of players that we deserve honesty and respect in every angle,” Spencer said. “When you’re left with no communication for months or for weeks about what’s happening, it makes it really difficult for a group of players to want to show up and to want to keep going and going through this each and every time if nothing ever changes.

“We’re sitting here on this and we speak the truth and we just wish that they could do the same in return.”