-says Christopher Matthias
Former president of the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) Christopher Matthias said he would consider contesting the post of president of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) if and when elections are held.
“As an individual who believes in nation building and who desires to live in Guyana, for me it would be a privilege to contribute to the development of our country through the discipline of football,” Matthias said in an invited comment yesterday.
Matthis, along with acting GFF president Franklin Wilson, Kashif Muhammad of the Kasif and Shanghai Orgsnisation, Troy Mendonce and Odinga Lumumba, both former GFA presidents are the names being bandied about as possible candidates to fill the post of GFF president when the elections are held.
Elections are held every four years under the GFF constitution and this is elections year.
But an attempt by the GFF to hold elections earlier this year was circumvented by the GFA which sought and was granted an interim injunction restraining the GFF from holding its election of office bearers.
This development came about after the GFF
had ruled that the GFA would not have been able to exercise their franchise at the elections which was scheduled for May 27.
The matter is still in Court but Matthias is hopeful of an early solution to the dispute.
“The acting president of the GFF Mr. Frankie Wilson has indicated that his office is disposed to dispensing justice and he would have been addressing the matter so as to bring about a speedy resolution,” Matthias stated.
Matthias feels that very little has been done for football under Klass’s stewardship over the years.
“I’m disappointed that after 22 years at the helm of football Mr. Klass’s conduct has not been synonymous with his name and despite the GFF being the recipient of a FIFA annual grant of US $250,000 no tangible development has taken place in the discipline of football.”
He was also dismayed at the failure of the national senior team to qualify for the World Cup finals especially since two Caribbean sister countries in Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago have been able to achieve that feat.
“During the 22 years Klass has been at the helm of the GFF, the national team has not made any significant strides on the international scene and the players themselves have expressed their frustration at Klass most noticeably following the 2009 Digicel Cup when the players waylaid Klass in the wee hours of the morning as he was attempting to leave the Crown Plaza Hotel for home.”
In 1999, Guyana was among five countries that were first identified to benefit from a new initiative by FIFA in what was termed the Goal Project.
Under the Goal Project countries were asked to provide land for the building of a venue for training and administrative uses the cost of which was to be borne by FIFA.
But the Goal Project is still to get off the ground even as some other countries are on their second and third Goal Projects.
Former FIFA Vice president Austin Jack Warner has in the past voiced his displeasure with this fact and yesterday Matthias joined Warner in condemning the state of affairs in Guyana.
“The much anticipated Goal Project which is meant for the development of football seems to have been red carded in that after more than 10 years no tangible development can be seen.
“Another issue that is of concern to me is that despite all of the above, the General Council of the GFF, which is the supreme and legislative body of the GFF, appear to have quietly sat and allowed this measure of non development to take place for such and extended period.”
Weak General Council
Matthis has apportioned part of the blame for the state of Guyana’s football squarely at the dapper Klass’s feet but he also is of the view that the General Council should be likewise responsible.
“In fact it is obvious that members of the General Council have allowed themselves to become the Executive Committee of the GFF i.e., managers of the policies of football rather than makers of the policies of football development and have allowed the GFF Executive Committee to perform the duties of the General Council.”
Matthias said that according to the GFF constitution, the Executive Committee of the GFF is merely honorary members and they do not have the powers of the General Council.
Matthias previously served as president of the GFA from 2000-2001 and he was re-elected president of the GFA from 2001-2003 but resigned in 2001.
“The executive, which I headed, was called the Millennium Executive and it hosted the first league that had a first prize of $500,000, 300,000 second prize and 200,000 third prize compliments of the corporate giant, Banks DIH Limited.
“The hallmark of that league also was the level of administrative discipline and the technical and tactical development displayed during the season.
“It was the first time in the history of football that the league ended with four clubs, each with a chance of becoming league champions on the final day of the competition.
“The policy we employed then was administrative soundness and technical and tactical correctness and there were standardized policies across the board.
“Our primary focus was on the development of the players in terms of their spiritual, mental, physical, economical and social development.”
Because of his past success, according to Matthias, many members of corporate and civil society and the football fraternity have asked him if he would consider running for the top post following Klass’s ban by FIFA.
Klass had initially been suspended by the World governing body for football for his role in the cash-for-votes scandal which brought about the downfall of two FIFA vice presidents Warner and Mohammed bin Hammam.
Following a meeting with the Ethics Commitee FIFA subsequently banned Klass from all football-related activates for 26 months and found him $5000 Swiss Francs.