GFF boss call for governmental support for Federation’s programmes
Following the success of the female footballers at the recently concluded CONCACAF Gold Cup qualifiers in Trinidad and Tobago, President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Colin Klass is calling for wider support for the team even as he heaped praises on the lasses.
Mr. Klass was at the time addressing media operatives at a press conference organized by the GFF to give an update on the status quo as well as the plans and projections for the fiscal year. He pointed out that while the GFF was committed to the development of the sport there was only so much that they could do with the restrictive resources. Mr. Klass pointed out that through the efforts of his executive and the application of the women’s team, Guyana has been able to qualify for the Gold Cup, slated for Cancun Mexico later this year and the Central American and Caribbean Games in Puerto Rico from July 17-31.
Mr. Klass said that the cost of the trip coupled with the huge sums invested into the preparations of the team has depleted the funds in the GFF coffers and administrators are appealing to the Government as well as the business community for assistance in the successful staging of the programmes for the balance of the fiscal year. “The GFF has used more than three quarters of the FIFA grant towards the women’s programmes,” disclosed Mr. Klass. He said that the ruling football body had stipulated a certain amount for the women’s developmental programme but the GFF executives, after recognizing the feasibility of the programme bit the bullet and utilized more than the stipulated sum. “To date we have utilized more than US$108,000 on the women’s programme and now find ourselves in a bind,” Klass explained. He said that repeated calls for help from the government have been met with stony silence.
Mr. Klass said that a lot more financial help is needed to accommodate the traveling and other arrangements of the Lady Jags to the impending CAC Games and the Gold Cup tournament. He said that participation in the Mexico event could cost as much as 9 million dollars. He then laid down the bare reality. “If we do not receive the requisite assistance the GFF would have no other option but to withdraw from a number of the programmes planned for the fiscal year.”
Mr. Klass feels that even though the corporate entities have a social responsibility to render assistance, such support is not forthcoming. He, however, singled out beverage giants, Banks DIH Ltd for the sustained assistance rendered towards the GFF programmes. He also highlighted the contributions of Digicel towards the sustenance of the women’s programme.
President of the Women’s Football Association, Vanessa Dickenson also praised the efforts of the women squad. She then made an impassioned plea to the Government for assistance in their development programmes. “We are aspiring to give our local lasses a break to pursue higher learning at overseas universities,” she disclosed. Quizzed on the status of previous requests Ms Dickenson retorted, “We have tabled these requests to the past 5 sports ministers but to date are still to receive an affirmative response.”
On this note, Mr. Klass chimed in to explain that dozens of requests have indeed gone unheeded. “It shows a stark imbalance in the treatment meted out to respective sports disciplines,” he posited.
President of the Guyana Sports Development Foundation and Programme Director of the Lady Jags, Colin Baker said he viewed corporate assistance not as a sponsorship deal but more like the strengthening of partnerships with the corporate fraternity since in the end all parties benefit from the initiatives. He said that the Lady Jags had made a significant input and their efforts should be lauded. “Guyanese should be especially proud of these ladies. They have responded to a 10 month programme while the Trinidadians were involved in a 10 year development programme.”