Burnett sees light at the end of the tunnel with FIFA, CONCACAF officials visit

—Lumumba writes FIFA recommending termination of current GFF executive

The impending arrival of CONCACAF and FIFA representatives signals the possible beginning of the reconciliation process between two disgruntled football organisations, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) and the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) and the hope of fixing the already fractured and tumultuous football situation in Guyana seems a little more realistic.

In recent interview with Stabroek Sport, president of the GFA, Vernon Burnett reiterated his stance on seeing progress being made in the resolution of the stand off between the two feuding entities.

The feud between the two entities has its genesis in the non restoration of the GFA’s voting rights by the GFF which led to a court action by the GFA.

Vernon Burnett
Vernon Burnett

“I have noted in the media that FIFA and CONCACAF are expected to be here on the 10th of this month (tomorrow) and we, at the GFA, are eagerly anticipating their intervention not only on our issue with the GFF but with all other football related issues that are affecting football development in Guyana,” said Burnett in an interview with Stabroek Sport.

He added that given the current situation, the GFA was not pleased with the limited development of the game.
“I share the same sentiments of GFA executives as a whole when I say that we are not happy at the rate at which football is moving forward in Guyana. We think a lot more could be done but it has to be a collective approach by the GFF and all its associations.

Georgetown, being what can be considered the leading association in Guyana, must be able to be a part of the decision making process with regards to football development in Guyana,” he asserted.

Burnett added that the Upper Demerara Football Association (UDFA) should also have its voting rights restored as they are one of the largest associations with a proven track record of development and producing quality players.

“We would have indicated to CFU, CONCACAF and FIFA of the current situation in Guyana before we would have approached the Court. So it’s a relief for us to see FIFA having some kind of intervention in the state of football in Guyana,” he said.
The present impasse has resulted in a fractured football fraternity as teams, organizations and most importantly fans have aligned themselves with the respective organizations.

Additionally, the sport is clearly stagnant with development nonexistent. National teams have not been insulated from the existing predicament with controversy surrounding the players and the federation over finances and the lack of transparency, two of the main sticking points.

Citing the lack of development and vision as a byproduct of clear incompetence by the top brass of the GFF, key players, inclusive of the national captain Chris Nurse, have said that they have taken an indefinite hiatus from international duties until the present situation is rectified and the administration is transformed.

Odinga  Lumumba
Odinga Lumumba

Meanwhile, Alpha United’s president Odinga Lumumba, in a two-page letter to FIFA on January 3, has recommended the termination of the current executive of the GFF.

Lumumba in his letter also recommended the following:-

1. The appointment of a five-man Interim Management Committee (IMC).

2. That general elections in all associations and affiliated bodies be held within six months based on terms and conditions of the approved FIFA/GFF constitutions.

3. That elections must include conditions that spell out the authenticity of the clubs and their rights to participate in voting process of associations.

4. That an independent investigation of the use of FIFA funds for the past 20 years including the $500,000 for the goal project and the hosting of GFF elections within nine months be held.

According to Lumumba, the recommendations will help smooth the way forward for the development of the sport.
In his letter Lumumba said that over the past 10 years he has raised Guyana’s issue at the level of FIFA, CONCACAF, CFU and especially with former President of CONCACAF and FIFA vice president Jack Warner.

“I find it difficult to comprehend that FIFA has only now awakened to the situation in Guyana,” he wrote.

“I also find it difficult to understand FIFA’s modus operandi of telling affiliates not to break rules, but yet FIFA takes over a decade to solve Guyana’s football problems. Thus it appears that our country being small and of less importance, should be neglected. Furthermore, national organisations such as the one in Guyana can relentlessly deny its affiliates their voting rights but selectively give those rights to others,” Lumumba wrote.

He added that the lack of action by FIFA and CONCACAF had resulted in a number of injustices handed down by the GFF.
“The Guyana Football Federation’s ill treatment of the Georgetown Football Association was reported to FIFA several years ago yet nothing was done to right the situation,” he stated.

Lumumba said that FIFA and CONCACAF had been written to by Alpha United concerning allegations of match fixing in the CFU leg of the 2011 CONCACAF Club Championship but to date no solution has been given by the CFU.

Burnett said optimism is high that the arrival of the regional and international football officials will result in the existing stand-off being resolved and in turn voting rights restored to the respective organisations which will go a long way in restoring development and productivity to the already battle-scarred sport.

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