Within seventy-two hours, the football fraternity is expected to have a new administration installed when the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) stages its Electoral Congress, at the National Training Centre, Providence.
Incumbent President Wayne Forde will have as his challenger former President Franklin Wilson and the two will battle for the right to lead the sport for the next four years.
Wilson, who led the Federation for a short period managed to produce tremendous results despite his spontaneous ascension to office.
He succeeded in guiding Guyana to its farthest in FIFA World Cup qualifiers, twenty-two friendly internationals in the space of 18 months while every other arm of the sport enjoyed positive movement, unprecedented at that juncture of Guyana’s football history.
Forde, on the other hand, did have some marginal success, but his tenure has been tainted by several negative events including accusations of Conflict of Interest, sexual harassment scandals, violations of FIFA ethics, lack of on-field activity at the local level, undemocratic behaviour shown towards certain member associations, late payments to staff and service providers, duping of sponsors and the list goes on.
His management of the sport has caused long-term harm, and many blame his acts of ineptitude as the reason why the sport is in such a state of asphyxia.
Even the success of the Golden and Lady Jaguars teams has not been able to change the fortune of the game locally.
There is still the struggle for sizeable sponsorship, the lack of well-structured and managed competitions, the indifference shown towards the development of women’s football, the absence of the fan experience, and the most egregious of all, the weak effort at grassroots development.
These are just a few illustrations of how poorly his administration performed over the past eight years.
There can be no excuse when an entity that depends on corporate funding for its programmes and activities fails to maintain a harmonious relationship with this sector. The only outcome is failure.
As the leader, he appeared more inclined to deceive FIFA than to make a real impact in the sport.
It is public knowledge that he has drawn down on more of FIFA’s largesse to members than any other President, but where are the accompanying results of such generosity?
The boast about the FIFA Forward Project is more empty than full since despite the large funding it received, he would struggle to explain why it has missed every timeline.
Then there is the accusation of conflict of interest in the NTC Project with insiders alleging his association with the entity retained as being in contravention of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
The Federation has been for the last year on suspended part-funding from FIFA.
There is constant gossip of his influence in the bidding processes and even though the alleged transgressions were said to be flagged by the governing body, the charge of continuity persists.
The contempt shown to staff members and service providers has also blanketed the administration’s reputation, while the retention of certain members of a related arm of the Federation after accusations of sexual harassment surfaced is ample evidence of his complicity in bad governance.
The electorate will have a choice in three days to either stick with someone who appears to condone violations of its constitution or choose the other candidate whose reputation as a sports administrator is exemplary and one that can withstand scrutiny.
As the saying goes show me your company and I can tell who you are.
AUBREY NORTON FRIGHTEN RENEGOTIATION AND RING-FENCING
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