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Cedella Marley leaves Reggae Girlz ambassador role

Cedella Marley has ended her long and fruitful association with the Reggae Girlz as the entrepreneur and daughter of reggae legend, Bob Marley, has left her ambassador role.

Marley announced the decision in a statement on her Instagram page on Friday. She revealed her frustrations with the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF). She also claimed they no longer value her support. “We have worked diligently with the federation to build a solid women’s programme. The results of this work speak for themselves as the Reggae Girlz have gone on to literally make history – not once, not twice but repeatedly,” the statement read. However, Marley grew wary of the growing “ever-widening rift” between the Girlz and the JFF over unpaid wages and preparation issues.

 

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A post shared by Cedella Marley (@cedellamarley)


Along with Marley’s resignation, the Bob and Rita Marley Foundations also pulled funding for the national women’s football program. However, Cedella confirmed she will still support the Girlz through the Football is Freedom initiative.

The Reggae Girlz program resurrected in 2014 following an extended hiatus thanks to Marley and her considerable funding. Collectively with the Bob and Rita Marley Foundations, among other partners, Cedella raised over US$2.7 million for the local women’s program. With the investment, the Reggae Girlz went from an extinct entity to one of the best teams in CONCACAF. They parlayed their improvement into two Women’s World Cup qualifications in 2019 and 2023. The apex was when the Girlz advanced from a group involving France, Panama and Brazil to become the first Jamaican national football team of any gender or age group to reach the knockout phase of a World Cup.

Michael Ricketts, president of the JFF, called Marley’s departure “unfortunate.” He also claimed there is “significant progress” with the Girlz amid their pay dispute. The JFF suspended the 2023 Women’s World Cup squad for opting out of the October and November international windows. These included qualifiers for the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup. The Girlz also underwent a coaching change amid the rift between the JFF and the Girlz. Former boss Lorne Donaldson left following the expiration of his contract last summer.

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Written by Jodee Brown

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