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'It is absolutely not true' - Bucknor rubbishes reports about tackling Burrell for JFF presidency

Adrian Frater, News Editor
Western Bureau:

Legendary West Indies cricket umpire, Steve Bucknor, has flatly denied reports that he plans to challenge Captain Horace Burrell for the presidency of the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF), at its next voting congress.

"It is absolutely not true and I don't know where that report came from," said Bucknor, who recently retired after serving as an international umpire for over two decades. "I have not had any such discussion with anyone.

"Running for the presidency of the JFF is not something I have ever given a thought to," continued Bucknor, who is now in England on business. "People here (England) have told me that they have heard the news out of Jamaica and I have had to be telling them it is not true."

Prepared for challenge

Within recent weeks, there have been reports in the media that Bucknor was planning to challenge Captain Burrell.

In response, Captain Burrell said he too had heard about the challenge and was prepared to face it.

"I have heard about it but it is not something I am worried about," Captain Burrell, stated in a recent media interview. "If that is the case, when the time comes the affiliates will decide who they think is the better man for the job."

However, in rubbishing the reports, which has been getting much traction, especially in western Jamaica, Bucknor, who stood in a record 128 Test cricket matches, said his only leadership ambition at this time is to seek the presidency of the St James Football Association.

"People have been asking me to run for president of the St James FA and that is the call I am answering to," said Bucknor, who is also a former FIFA referee. "St James' football is in need of some serious help to get back on top and I would be only too happy to lead that process."

Bucknor's wife, Leonora, who said she was taken aback when she first heard the news, said she instantly realised it was not true based on her husband's heavy schedule in terms of coaching, umpiring at the local level and seeking the presidency of the St James FA.

Has enough on his plate

"He is involved with his own football academy, he is still umpiring locally and everybody knows he is back at Cornwall College as their daCosta Cup coach," said Mrs Bucknor. "With his plan to run for president here in St James, he clearly has enough on his plate, so running for the JFF is out of the question."

With St James' football in somewhat of a quandary, with the recent resignation of Orville Powell, who resigned midway in his second term as FA president, many feel that Bucknor is the ideal person to replace him.

"Mr Bucknor is the right man to run St James Football," said former St James player, Delroy 'Milo' Ricketts, the father of national goalkeeper Donovan. "He is a former player, a former referee, he is an excellent coach and he is widely respected locally and internationally."