By Iva Wharton
As the controversy between the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) and the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) rages on, evidence is being unearthed by the GFA in its bid to
prove its suspension was unjustified, that the suspension was a direct result of the GFA’s criticism of now banned GFF president Colin Klass.
The minutes of an August 18, 2008 Extra Ordinary Meeting of the General Council of the GFF, show that Klass chaired that meeting where the decision was taken to suspend the GFA.
Present at the meet were; Klass, Second Vice President, Franklin Wilson, Organising Secretary, Aubrey Major, Treasurer, Aubrey Henry, Honorary Secretary, George Rutherford, President of the Bartica Football Association (BFA), Carlos Prowell, Secretary of the BFA, Carlton Beckles, President of the Berbice Football Association(BFA), Keith O’Jeer, Secretary of the East Bank Football Association (EBFA), Leslie Glasgow, President of the East Bank Football Association (EBFA) – Aubrey Hutson, President of the East Demerara Football Association (EDFA), Sheron Abrams and Secretary of the EDFA, Darren Browne.
Also present were executive member of the Essequibo/Pomeroon Football Association, Rawle Griffith, President of the GFA, Troy Mendonca, Secretary of the GFA, Marlan Cole, Guyana Football Referee Council, Treasurer, Lawrence Griffith and Dwayne Lovell, National Association for Women Football – Kevin De Jonge and Upper Demerara Football Association (UBFA) – Rawle Blair.
“The Chairman invited the President and Secretary of the GFA to explain their recent action. The GFA President informed the meeting that he saw nothing wrong with him and his secretary going to the press and seeking the resignation of the president of the GFF as he was not satisfied with where football was at present.
He opined at after two decades at the helm it was time for the GFF president to resign. He cited several areas of seeming incompetence of the GFF as an organization and suggested that the leader was to be held responsible. The secretary of the GFA also echoed similar sentiments,” the minutes stated.
The GFA was urged to follow the established guidelines set up for the resolution of conflict and grievances and not to externalize football administration problem issues. It was also noted at the meeting that while persons were entitled to their opinions, there were “right” and “wrong” ways to deal with matters.
The need for better management systems and also the circulation of copies of the current GFF constitution were proffered as ways to ensure that the organization functioned more effectively with improved communication.
Klass then drew to the attention of the meeting the existence of codes of conduct with FIFA, CONCACAF and CFU, adding that the failure to observe those procedures usually results in sanctions and censures.
He declared that the various associations were given mandates by the larger GFF to administer football on its behalf in their respective geographical areas. As such, they were all responsible to the GFF for their actions. He cited instances in other countries where football administration was not decentralized and the national bodies administered football throughout the length and breadth of those countries.
According to the minutes the two GFA officials; Mendonca and Cole were asked to leave the meeting in order for other member associations to agree on the sanction.
It also stated that that “after further deliberations unanimously agreed that the two executives of the GFA must write a letter of apology within 48 hours to the General Council for their actions which brought football into disrepute by externalizing football matters which constitutionally should have been dealt with utilizing the GFF’s mechanisms for the resolution of problems.
It further decided that the GFA will serve a one year probationary period with full privileges and benefits except that it will be denied voting rights at meetings of the GFF. Should the GFA executives be guilty of similar action the association will be suspended form the GFF.
At no time was Chairman and President of the GFF Klass was asked to excuse himself from that meeting given that he was at the center of the controversy.
Since this meeting, the GFA has sought legal action preventing the GFF from interfering in any matters concerning the GFA and Klass was issued with a 27-month ban from having anything to do with football administration by FIFA, for his involvement in the bribery scandal involving veteran former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner.
Meanwhile, in an invited comment GFA Secretary Christopher Matthias said that these meetings were never publicized as it was the customary for officials of the GFA to make decisions in secrecy. He also said that the GFA would like the matter resolved in a timely matter and has taken every step humanly possible to deal with it.
He also said that the GFF decision to deprive the GFA of its voting rights is unconstitutional and unfounded be it by FIFA, CONCACAF, CFU or GFA. Voting rights he said are fundamental.
The decision, he said, as can be proven by the minutes, saw the GFA losing its voting rights because two official members voiced their opinions concerning the presidency of Klass. According to Matthias, no one asked in what capacity the two gentlemen were questioning the presidency of Klass.
He also maintained that the GFA is prepared to take the matter out of the courts, but said that the GFA needs to be guaranteed that it will receive its full voting rights and also that none of its members will sanctioned. At the moment, he said, that is not the information the association is receiving.