By Rawle Welch
“Detractors, defectors and saboteurs should have no place in local football”, this is according to President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Christopher Matthias, who was speaking to Kaieteur Sport during an exclusive interview last Friday.
Matthias, who took over the reins of power following a FIFA/CONCACAF, mandated Electoral Congress last April after the administration of the sport had plunged into anarchy with the denial of voting rights to a few associations by the past regime, told this newspaper that those with seditious motives who’re now attempting to regain control of the sport by stuffing themselves on to the executive of some associations and clubs should receive no such patronage after decimating the governing body’s coffers.
The GFF President, who has been forging a new administrative path which is being guided by good governance, accountability and transparency, said that while he anticipated resistance to the new dispensation, the obstructive efforts to once again strike at the foundations of FIFA and CONCACAF mandate by some from the past regime only serves to highlight who they are and will in no way distract the current administration in its quest to restore the good name and fortune of the sport.
He said while many felt that the GFF’s work would have been severely disrupted by the withdrawal of a few members of the executive, those that remained have given the assurance to work beyond the normal call of duty to ensure that what the entity had set out to achieve was not derailed by some who by their actions only took office in an attempt to frustrate the work of the new administration in the short term that it had.
“We continue to inform the regional and world bodies about our work and we have their support so while a few from the previous administration have been busy scurrying around the globe trying to get the attention of officials, we continue to forge ahead with the tedious assignment of educating our member associations about good governance, obligatory practices for good club structure in addition to our own commitment to see the game played at all levels,” Matthias declared.
On the subject of the audited reports, the GFF official would only say that it is finished and will be presented to the General Council for perusal and recommendations very soon, while adding that the auditor’s conclusions are interesting.
When quizzed about the no-confidence vote brought against him by members of two associations, Matthias responded by saying, “It was the will of the Lord Almighty to have me here and I’m not afraid by their actions, if it is His will that I stay then their attempt to remove me will not happen.”
There is talk that you’re not as inclusive and accommodating as you ought to be, what is your answer to these accusations?
“Everyone knows that that’s a lie coming from the few who are making these claims. I firmly believe in division of labour and have publicly demonstrated such when each executive member and the area of responsibility were identified to the media.”
How difficult has it been to clean up all the mess that was left by the past administration and I include the debt burden, the eradication of fear that was embedded in the consciousness of executives of member associations and how receptive are they now to the current GFF’s attempt to develop not only the game, but their respective associations as well?
“One would readily know that it would not be easy to clean up a culture of ýnon development which existed for almost twenty years. But the motivating words of many corporate as well as civil societies stir us onwards and upwards. We are happy to report that we have begun to honor our obligations due to our creditors and wish to express our heartfelt thanks for their patience. We are about development through empowerment and have adopted such a posture which has been welcomed by many associations and clubs.”
Could you give an update on the impending FIFA GOAL Project?
There is continuous dialogue with the Honourable Minister, Dr Frank Anthony and we anticipate a fruitful outcome since the government is committed to providing land so that football can have its own home. As you are aware, most other disciplines have their own home. The time is right ýfor football to get its own.
There are some serious enquiries about the absence of a national team and Guyana’s absence from international competitions what would you say in response to those queries?
We have heeded the advice of our Technical Director and have begun to build our national teams instead of just assembling them. Thus, every club has been sent the national criteria for selection so that the players can know beforehand, the requisite drills which must be perfected. Our aim is to become formidable competitors, and not just mere participants.
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