Upper Demerara Football Association to remain neutral in GFF/GFA dispute

-aims to protect its clubs  
The Upper Demerara Football Association (UDFA) says it will not be taking sides in the dispute between the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) but it will continue to invite all of its clubs and leagues to tournaments in the interest of the game.

In an interview with Stabroek Sport yesterday, UDFA President Sharma Solomon said that the association deliberately did not state which of the two end-of-year tournaments it was supporting; Kashif and Shanghai or Banks Beer/GFA, as it would be setting up clubs to be sanctioned by the GFF.

Stabroek Sport had sought clarification on the issue after a press release to the media said that the executives of the association had been placed in “a very difficult position” due to the ongoing dispute between the GFF and the GFA.

“The GFA is not affiliated to the GFF as a legal association, thus all football leagues/tournaments organised and played by the GFA should not include clubs from associations affiliated to the GF,” the release said. Further, it noted that after a deeper assessment of the situation it had decided to do what is best for “football development” in Region Ten.

“As the association stands to be administratively irrelevant to the clubs or stand to be sanctioned by the GFF.  Therefore, (we) have taken the side of “football development” on the matter and will continue to invite all of our clubs to leagues/tournaments in the future,” the release said.

The UDFA also said it would like the GFF to assess the dilemma the association was placed in because of the disagreement between the two sides; GFF and the GFA. “Football clubs around Guyana are being placed under tremendous strain and clubs are likely to gravitate towards where football is being played and recognition is given. We are urging all involved to do what’s best in the interest of football in Guyana,” the association said.

By taking such a stance, the UDFA president said the association is in a better position to defend its clubs if and when it is called before the GFF to provide reasons why the clubs should not be penalized.

He also said what continues to be important is that football in Region 10 remains intact and the only way to achieve that is by not getting involved in an existing fight.

He also said that the UDFA is in the process of planning its calendar for next year, which would see all the clubs affiliated to the association being invited to participate.

Ten clubs are affiliated to the UDFA: Amelia’s Ward Untied, Milerock, Botofago, Net Rockers, Eagles United, Blue Berry Hill United, Silver Shattas, Winners Connection, Bakewell Top XX and Vasco.

This newspaper has learnt that four of the ten clubs will be competing in the 23rd edition of the Kashif and Shanghai: Amelia’s Ward United, Mile Rock, Silver Shattas and Winners Connection. The number of clubs competing in the Banks Beer/GFA tournament is not known, but the remaining six have indicated an interest in the tournament.

Both the GFF and the GFA were courting clubs affiliated to the UDFA and other sub-associations but to date neither side has released the full complement of teams slated to compete in either tournament.

The Kashif and Shanghai Organization said in a previous publication that it would  release the names of the 16 teams slated to contest its tournament, while the GFA only released the names of nine teams which included Barbados-based Caribbean United.

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