By Michael Benjamin
Football development was severely compromised yesterday morning after the
executives of the respective arms failed to reach a compromise on the authenticity of delegates to vote for the installation of two new Vice Presidents to the executive body of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF). The inability to reach an amicable consensus resulted in a walkout by a large majority and the eventual abortion of the proceedings.
The principals had convened to flesh out the modalities associated with the installation of two Vice Presidents to fill the posts of their disposed predecessors, Collie Hercules and Rawle Adams, as executives on the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), at the Regency Hotel, Hadfield Street. Instead, what started out as a civil discussion, interspersed with a closed door sub meeting between members of the aggrieved group and GFF President, Christopher Matthias, to decide on the way forward, escalated into contentious disagreements and the eventual abortion of the meeting following a walkout by several members of the groups.
The six distressed associations are the Georgetown Football Association (GFA), National Women’s Football Association (NWFA), Guyana Football Coaches Association (GFCA), Guyana Football Referees Council (GFRC), East Coast Football Association (ECFA) and East Demerara Football Association (EDFA).
The walkout meant that a quorum was not met, forcing an abortion of the meeting. President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Christopher Matthias, in a last bid effort to salvage the meeting, attempted to woo the aggrieved group into renewed talks but his efforts failed after those affiliates stood their ground and refused to engage in further discussions.
Indications that the meeting might not have had a smooth run surfaced from the inception when Secretary of the Guyana Association of Women’s Football (GAWF), Aubrey Henry, questioned the legitimacy of the Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the Upper Demerara Football Association (UDFA). There were also other dissenting voices over several other persons that were given voting rights despite their non-conformity to the constitutional prerequisites.
The Essequibo Football Association (EFA) was cited as one of those errant units that were given voting rights despite questionable standing and while its Secretary, Maxine Stewart, maintained that her Association had conformed to the requirements, the dissenting groups are adamant that was not the case. Ms. Stewart defended her decision saying that her executives have satisfied the requirements by regularizing themselves and then acquiescing to the registration criteria. She said that this was done within just one year.
President of the East Demerara Football Association, Aubrey Hutson started the procession after he informed the GFF President that the inclusion of the Interim Management Committees (IMC) was unconstitutional and that they should not be a part of the voting process. After the GFF President disagreed with him, Mr. Hutson gracefully asked to be excused and left the forum. Several other affiliates followed his lead and convened in an open area just outside the conference room where they held a mini press conference to voice their dissatisfaction.
The representatives out of the UDFA are claiming that 8 clubs wrote Mr. Matthias and identified their representatives. However, it would appear that Matthias ignored that correspondence and went ahead with his choice instead. “This is absolute nonsense and we are not prepared to accept these shananigans,” one of the disgruntled representatives blurted.
Further, Matthias was accused of unconstitutionally removing the General Secretary of the West Demerara Football Association (WDFA) thus precluding him from his rights to participate in the process.
The issue had its genesis on April 26 last when six associations staged a walkout but returned after failing to win a majority following a vote to determine whether the issue of the no-confidence should be entertained; the process ended in a 9-9 stalemate.
Following discussions, they promised to reconvene at a later date, a decision endorsed by the CONCACAF team of observers, Director of Legal Affairs Marco Leal, FIFA Developmental Officer Howard McIntosh and CONCACAF Legal Advisor Bruce Blake.
Yesterday morning’s top delegation of observers included FIFA representative, Anton Sealey, Head of CONCACAF legal department, Marco Leal and Legal Advisor to CONCACAF, Bruce Blake. These gentlemen will now report on the proceedings to FIFA officials who will now decide Guyana’s fate.
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