GFF Boss urges stakeholders to reject unauthorised tournaments
All members, players, coaches, match officials and clubs that fall under the umbrella of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) are constitutionally obliged to abstain from unauthorised football events, both for the long-term benefit of football development and the safety and wellbeing of the football community, GFF President Wayne Forde said.
In the current climate, with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing and lockdown rules still in force, Forde said any such unsanctioned events should be boycotted by the public and handled appropriately according to the law.
“We have been extremely concerned and alarmed to hear several reports of top national players and registered match officials participating in a specific unauthorised football competition in Buxton, alongside images of large crowds convening at the community ground at night to watch,” he said.
“It beggars belief that anyone would put the health of players, match officials and the public at risk at this delicate time, and that this should apparently go completely unchecked by the national authorities and the local police,” he said, urging the National COVID-19 Task Force and Government of Guyana to intervene in the interests of public health.
“Separately, we expect our national team players and registered referees to act as role models and lead by example, both by making responsible decisions for themselves and their loved ones during this health crisis and by following the rules of the GFF Constitution that they are bound by. The behaviour of some of our national players is even more baffling given that the Golden Jaguars are currently preparing for FIFA World Cup qualifiers next month.”
Forde calls for collective action against all unsanctioned football activity in his column in the new monthly GFF newsletter – GFFNOW – which is published today on the GFF website at https://www.guyanafootball.org/gff-now-football-is-back/ and on its social media platforms. The GFF announced provisional suspensions for several national team players, registered coaches and match officials on Saturday, pending Disciplinary Committee hearings, based on reports of the unauthorised competition at Buxton.
“Under the GFF Constitution, all members and constituents are prohibited from taking part in any football activities that have not been authorised by the GFF. Enforcing this is the responsibility of the Federation as part of its duties within FIFA’s global governance structure.
The Constitution seeks to ensure that all football in Guyana is played to certain standards and in an orderly, structured manner – for the long-term benefit of football development and governance, and the health and safety of the entire football community,” he said.
“If the GFF does not act to defend its Constitution to avoid a state of lawlessness resulting from unregulated football, the Federation’s compliance with FIFA and Concacaf statutes will be threatened, possibly resulting in Guyana’s suspension from football governance structures, international football competitions and funding for football development projects,” he said. “This is what is at stake.”
Forde said the role that the GFF plays in the regulation of football activities is intended to:
1. Ensure that competitions are played in accordance with the Laws of the Game.
2. Ensure that competitions are organised in a manner that places the highest priority on the
safety and wellbeing of players, coaches, match officials, spectators and the public.
3. Ensure that adequate medical facilities and certified first responders are on hand in the
event of an injury.
4. Ensure that match fixing does not occur and that players and officials are not exposed to
intimidation by criminal elements seeking to manipulate results.
5. Ensure that individuals involved in the organisation of any competitions are in good
standing with the Federation, have not been convicted of any crime and have the
adequate expertise and capabilities required to stage public activities.
6. Reduce the potential for money laundering, illegal gambling and other illicit financial
7. Ensure that all conflicts, sporting and otherwise, arising from a competition are
adjudicated through the GFF’s FIFA-approved constitutional processes.
8. Ensure that the GFF annual football calendar of activities is respected by all.
9. Protect the image and governance of football in Guyana.
10. Support the rule of law and the orderly organization of public activities under values and regulations that have been agreed by the national football community, with the long-term support of the Government of Guyana and regional authorities.
“Without these structures in place, we risk enabling a lawless free-for-all that will not only jeopardise the sustainable development of the game and our young talent, but also open the door to criminal elements and match fixing,” he said. “Together, all legitimate stakeholders – from the GFF community to the Government of Guyana – must take a firm collective stand and act swiftly now to nip these unauthorised activities in the bud.”