The Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF) reconvened Congress was abruptly ended once again as six associations walked out in protest surrounding the legality of the several affiliates, their voting rights and their respective representatives.
The associations who walked out of the Ordinary Congress held at the Regency Hotel led by the East Coast Football Association (ECFA) were Georgetown Football Association (GFA), East Bank Football Association (EBFA), Guyana Football Referees Council (GFRC), Guyana Football Coaches Association (GFCA) and the National Women’s Football Association (NWFA).
Also walking out of the congress were GFF Vice-President Ivan Persaud and GFF Committee member Vanessa Dickenson. Dickenson also holds the post of president of the NWFA.
The associations that remained in an attempt to form a quorum were the Upper Demerara Football Association (UDFA), Berbice Football Association (BFA), Bartica Football Association, Essequibo/Pomeroon Football Association (EPFA) and West Demerara Football Association (WDFA).
Their efforts to form the quorum which constitutes 50% plus one of the Congress were unsuccessful as they represented only 50% of the body.
Attending the meeting as international observers were CONCACAF Director of Legal Affairs Marco Leal, FIFA Representative Anton Sealey and CONCACAF Legal Advisor Bruce Blake and the GFF electoral committee comprising Joseph Hamilton, Euclin Gomes and Dawn Holder.
Mandated by FIFA to be reconvened before August 10th following the abortion of the GFF April 26th Congress, the origin of the confusion began when ECFA President Aubrey Hutson challenged the legitimacy of certain affiliates following an impromptu meeting between several members of the gathering.
The special meeting was agreed upon by the GFF boss after NWFA Secretary Aubrey Henry requested that they sit and work out certain pertinent issues upon the conclusion of the roll call. The contentious issues were the legality of IMC’s, the voting eligibility of IMC’s and the legality of representatives of the UDFA and WDFA bodies.
Representing the six associations during the 40 minute deliberation were GFA secretary Odinga Lumumba, GFRC president Alfred King and Henry while EPFA Secretary Maxine Stewart, UDFA representative Collis Gifth and BFA president Clay Flatts along with federation boss Christopher Matthias represented the GFF.
Upon the conclusion of the meeting, it was disclosed by Matthias that the disgruntled associations were offered one of the two vacant GFF vice-president positions. The aforesaid positions became empty following the suspension of Collie Hercules and the earlier resignation of Rawleston Adams.
It was further declared by the GFF boss that Lumumba was suggested to be the beneficiary of one of the vacant positions. However, he noted that this proposal was met with opposition by several members of the six associations.
This eventually led to Hutson questioning the legitimacy of certain associations within the gathering which in turn led to the resulting walk out by the six associations.
Matthias in an invited comment said: “Guyana’s football development is moving ahead. Respectfully, the posture adopted by the gentlemen and people of the other faction is a posture which will now allow us to take full control of Guyana’s football in terms of its growth and development, so the mediocrity which existed for the last 22 years will no longer continue to exist,” he declared.
“Guyana’s football development cannot continue to suffer by those who want to hold it within their tentacles not for the sole purpose of development, but for their own personal aggrandizement and that has been the issue.”
He added that those who walked out came yesterday to deny members their fundamental right to vote without any evidence of the respective associations being suspended.
“We suggested to them that since they have maintained a posture that they’re factions in the Congress, most unfortunately so, then let there be a nominee from their camp and a nominee from our camp and then we basically make the appointment, and the Electoral Committee said it was the best suggestion I would have advanced.
“The candidate that was identified was Mr. Lumumba and even in his faction they’re folks who don’t want him to be a Vice-president. They are too many jockeys for one horse,” he said.
ECFA President Hutson during a comment following the walking out said “I can first speak about the position of the ECFA where we refuse to be part of a process of a flawed Congress, where we’re going to allow people who are not legitimate associations and don’t have the right to vote be part of the process.
“It’s based on this alone, it’s no witch-hunt, no need to be president or anything like that, we want it to be right whether these people are going to vote for us or against us, we want the process to be correct. Only delegates that are supposed to be in this Congress should have been there and that is all we’re trying to have.”
Reading from a statement sent by FIFA, Hutson further said “Every association is allowed to vote once they don’t forfeit their rights or break any of our statutes. Essequibo/Pomeroon did not vote at the Congress that elected Matthias.”
NWFA secretary Henry echoed Hutson’s views saying “We have a situation whereby the provisional members of the Guyana Football Federation were being pushed in terms of voting. Our position is members of the Interim Management Committee cannot and must not vote.”
“The position with Linden is also an issue as seven clubs wrote and said who they wanted for representatives. It’s the same with West Demerara with eight clubs questioning the exclusion of the general secretary and we are not prepared to have it.
“We were told at a committee that we called to get the process forward that they’re only three constitutionally and fully eligible members in good standing from the Chairman of the Electoral Committee”.
“Our position is let those three members vote. The President could not have accepted that and we were accused of excluding persons. We are saying as per constitution only three members are constitutional and empowered to vote. Let them decide the way forward for Congress; that is our position.” He declared.