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Saturday, November 19, 2005

Bahrainis say JFF fee for camp, match too high

President of the Bahraini Football Federation (BFF), Sheikh Salman Bin Ebrahim Al-Khalifa, said the proposed training camp and friendly international between his country and the Reggae Boyz did not happen because the fee requested by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) was "unreasonable".

"It was an unreasonable sum, it was too much and that would be more than US$50,000 a day. That's ridiculous," Al-Khalifa said.

The JFF had requested US$350,000 from the Bahrainis to host them in a one-week training camp and to play a friendly international against a home-based Boyz team, ahead of the Arabian Gulf State's two-way home-and-away World Cup qualifying tie against Trinidad & Tobago. After receiving details and fee request from the JFF, with regards to the planned camp and game, Al-Khalifa said his vice-president called their counterparts in Jamaica expressing that the sum being asked for was way "too much". Yesterday, the JFF reiterated that the proposal was to host a Bahrain delegation of 49 persons, and that the Bahraini authorities had requested a composite figure which would have included private security, hotel accommodation at a five-star hotel, venue for training, gym facilities, luxury ground transportation, as well as a practice game.

According to Al-Khalifa, a relative of the ruling royal family here, when they refused the JFF's request the Jamaicans in a few short minutes, dropped the figure of the original request by about half. Meanwhile, Al-Khalifa said that he was not satisfied with the whole handling of the situation and decided to call the whole thing off. He said with the Jamaica plan down the drain, he looked for alternatives, but no progress was made, as precious time had passed. Some of the teams considered for hosting Bahrain were Venezuela, Colombia and Honduras.

Al-Khalifa claims that the failed negotiations with Jamaica did not impact on his nation's preparation for Trinidad. "It certainly did not impact us in any way," he noted. The idea of the planned visit to Jamaica, he said, came from an English sports management executive. That man is Tony Simpson, chief executive officer of Wilton International Management Group. Simpson, whose mother lives in Manchester, Jamaica, was in Bahrain on a golf tournament project, and he agreed with Al-Khalifa that the deal with Jamaica fell through because of the exorbitant request plus the unavailability of top pros playing in neighbouring Qatar.

Al-Khalifa also denied media reports that each player was promised US$1 million, had the team qualified. "That's not true, we have not promised the players anything. The greatest incentives for these players is to go down in history," he said. Read More....

Source: Jamaica Observer

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