Who will it be?

- GFF to hold critical election today as FIFA watches

The much anticipated Guyana Football Federation (GFF) electoral congress will be held today at the Pegasus Hotel from 17:00 hrs with four candidates set to vie for the coveted presidential post.

Mandated by FIFA, CONCACAF and CFU officials following their visit  on January 10th, 2013 to broker a deal between the GFF and the Georgetown Football Association (GFA) over the restoration of the latter’s voting rights, this historic juncture is seen by many pundits as the first real democratic GFF election. It is expected to be witnessed by CONCACAF legal mind Bruce Blake and other officials from the regional and world bodies.

          Christopher Mattias
Christopher Mattias

Stabroek Sport caught up with three of the candidates in the final hours leading up to the elections with each delegate stating their confidence in ascending to the top post in Guyana’s football sphere.

Ivan Persaud in an invited comment stated “I am confident that Guyana will vote for the best candidate. We should take an example from FIFA who elected Sepp Blatter from the position of technical director. I have been a servant of football for forty years as I have made the perfect transition from player, coach, manager and administrator and I believe it’s the opportune time to make the right choice as we are at a critical juncture”.

Georgetown Football Association (GFA) secretary and fellow presidential hopeful Christopher Matthias also shared his sentiments, stating “Today history will be created as we are now afforded a once in a lifetime opportunity to choose a president that is intellectual, respected and respectful of all stakeholders. By the establishment of democracy history will now be created as four candidates will vie for the presidency of the GFF.

Alfred King
Alfred King

I must extend thanks for the support of all the persons who wanted to see a Matthias presidency and I will do my utmost not to disappoint. I am confident that the people will make the right choice and the general council being mindful of the developmental need of this honourable institution in particular with regards to administrative development will make the right choice”.

Organizing Secretary of the GFF and former Kashif and Shanghai director Aubrey “Shanghai” Major in brief remarks stated “I am feeling good and confident and If all the voters want to see football rise in Guyana then me and my slate are the only set of people who should be there”.

Aubrey Major
Aubrey Major

Guyana Football Referees Council (GFRC) president and final GFF presidential aspirant Alfred King could not be reached for a comment. Acting President of the GFF and vice presidential nominee Franklin Wilson stated that while he does not want to comment, said that all the preparations are in place. Head of the electoral committee for today’s election Emily Dodson declined to comment when contacted by Stabroek Sport.

This committee was one of the requirements of the FIFA-brokered agreement in January. Observers say the committee will be under pressure to deliver a verifiable and controversy-free poll.

Today’s election had its beginnings in the Mohammed bin Hammam fiasco following which longstanding GFF president Colin Klass was banned for his role at a meeting where cash was offered to Caribbean Football Union delegates in return for their support of bin Hammam’s FIFA candidacy. Klass was banned for twenty-six months on September 23rd 2011, the stiffest sentence meted out to the officials punished following a FIFA probe. Klass has not spoken about this matter. Current General Secretary of the GFF Noel Adonis was also given a thirty day ban.

Ivan Persaud
Ivan Persaud

The meeting in question took place on 20 May 2011 in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. The meeting had been arranged so that the president of the Asian Football Confederation at the time bin Hammam could address representatives of the CFU in an attempt to persuade them to vote for him in the upcoming FIFA presidential elections.

The incident resulted in bin Hammam’s suspension and eventual life ban and CONCACAF president at the time Jack Warner’s resignation, as well as the suspension of over thirty CFU vice-presidents and staff, and the investigation of over 30 national football association officials.