There have never been appearance fees in the Kashif and Shanghai

Dear Editor,

I am once more forced to correct an inaccuracy which appeared in an article in SN on April 9, captioned ‘GFF elections campaign heats up,’ by Iva Wharton. The GFA Secretary, Christopher Matthias, who is one of the four candidates contesting the presidency in the upcoming Congress of the GFF, was reported as saying that “…among his achievements was securing appearance fees for clubs competing in the Kashif and Shangai tournament.” That statement coincidentally and unbelievably was made in Linden, the birthplace of the tournament last Wednesday, when Mr Matthias along with Messrs King and Persaud addressed affiliates and the executive of the UDFA.

It was reported that Mr Major was absent, as he was out of the jurisdiction according to the association’s President. Will he be allowed the opportunity to address his fellow Lindeners?

Meanwhile on a pertinent point, one wonders who Mr Matthias’s advisors and campaign manager are, since suffice it to say that if any proper research had been done in relation to the FIFA statues, it would have been discovered that appearance fees are not offered to amateur clubs. In actuality, therefore, the GFF wouldn’t have entertained such a request, owing to the fact that the sport in Guyana isn’t professional.

In December, 2000 at the Campbellville Community Centre, on a bright and sunny Sunday morning, the GFA executive (Millennium) headed by Christopher Matthias, President, had convened an emergency meeting to discuss “appearance fees” for the GFA clubs participating in the annual Kashif and Shanghai KO. Following the formalities of prayers, then came the Chairman’s opening remarks, and Mr Matthias would not be moved from the sum of $50,000 as an appearance fee for each club. Editor, with the usual in-house meeting and bickering, the floor was then opened for questions.

At the time I was the Secretary of Fruta Conquerors and Deryck Whyte was the coach, the two of us being the club’s representatives. Deryck’s input dealt primarily with the arithmetical aspect, enquiring as to where the directors would find $900,000 from to pay 18 clubs since their budget had already been compiled. Wasn’t this a case of being unreasonable, he enquired? Meanwhile with no affirmative answer forthcoming, I then rose to add my contribution pointing out that this would involve 25% of the gate receipts for the 4 teams, comprising 7½ % for each winner and 5% for each of the 2 losers, until the semifinals stage, and that this must also be across the board for all other tournaments. With some other clubs opting for a reduction in the appearance fee, the meeting ended with no common consensus being arrived at.

In the same year, the 4 semifinalists were all from Georgetown, so, in actuality what would the percentage of the gate receipts have been like? Thereafter in the ensuing years what was achieved was a preparation fee for all teams, which was acceptable to all and sundry.

Coincidentally, why is it that Mr Matthias didn’t advocate for an appearance fee with Banks DIH for the GFA’s year-end tournament? And it must be noted that the sharing of profits among clubs in knockout tournaments is an inherited policy in Georgetown, and I met it in 1982. Anyhow, what I do know is that I was able to achieve ‒ after Fruta Conquerors’ first appearance in the finals that they lost to 5-times champions Bakewell ToppXX ‒ the latter’s right to travel extensively around the country. Previously the 5-times champions had never travelled out of Linden for the 5 tittles they won.

Yours faithfully,
Lester Sealey

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