"The budget for 2013 is currently being worked on and my estimate, from here on to the World Cup... will be costing in the region of $700 million," Leighton McKnight, JFF board member and chairman of its finance committee, said at yesterday's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue headquarters in Kingston.
"The programme is very costly.
We have to play a number of matches, both qualification matches and friendly internationals... and some of the numbers are not difficult to comprehend," he
McKnight, a managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Jamaica and former president of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica, was recently appointed head of the new CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) Audit & Compliance Committee.
"As you know, when this administration took over we incurred debts, and as we speak the debt of the JFF
is nearly $200m," McKnight
Our gate receipts can be like $45 million, so you multiply that by five (and) that is over $200 million", McKnight
But based on Jamaica's precarious position entering the last match against Caribbean neighbours Antigua and Barbuda, in which qualification to the final round was in doubt, the JFF
suffered at the gate and made a loss.
With expenses rattling up from $600,000 for the public address system to $2 million to rent the stadium, and another $2 million for advertising, $800,000 for workers at the game, players' costs (match fees and incentives), and up to $5 million for air transportation, the JFF
suffered badly in that venture.
"When we stage a match at the stadium it will run us about $20 million; multiply that by five [and] you can see it's $100 million," said McKnight
will also incur expenses for the away games as airfares, accommodation and players' match fees can run into the millions of dollars.
remained optimistic that the JFF
would be able to finance the budget, which includes, not only the senior Reggae Boyz, but eight other national teams, including the youth teams and the women's programme.
With a number of sponsors already on board, including Digicel, GraceKennedy, Stewart's Auto, Courts, Wata, and Kappa to name a few, additional sponsorship is being solicited by the federation.
"We are expecting more people to come on board and the responses so far, despite the economic crunch, we are getting positive feedback and one in particular you will hear the announcement in a couple of weeks," revealed McKnight
"I appeal to the public that it's an investment, we know it's tight, but it's what we have to do.
In the 1998 campaign things were much easier because players were based here and that took care of the airfare issue, and on top of that we had an airline sponsor and the airline industry was not like now," McKnight
With him are Jamaica Football Federation President Captain Horace Burrell (centre) and JFF board memeber Leighton McKnight who also chairs the federation's Finance Committee. (Photo: Naphtali Junior)