Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President Christopher Matthias said that he has been in contact with the world governing body for football FIFA and CONCACAF, the regional governing body following the abandonment of the federation’s reconvened Ordinary Congress on Saturday and expects the bodies to make a pronouncement on the issue very shortly.
Speaking in an exclusive interview, the embattled GFF head said: “We had dialogue with FIFA and CONCACAF on Saturday night on the way forward and we can assure you that FIFA has a much clearer position of what is happening.”
He added: “FIFA will either have a pronouncement or a presence very shortly. Whether it is a presence or pronouncement, Guyana’s football is going to develop without the likes of Vernon Burnett, Alfred King, Franklyn Wilson, Aubrey Henry, Aubrey Hutson, Wayne Dover, Ivan Persaud, Vanessa Dickenson, Sampson Gilbert and myself if it comes to that.”
Questioned about the way forward for Guyana, Matthias said: “We have been advised to continue to focus on the structured development of Guyana’s football. It is most unfortunate the posture adopted by (Odinga) Lumumba and his followers.”
Six members of the GFF walked out of Saturday’s reconvened Congress over the issue of voting rights for affiliates.
The same associations had also walked out of the initial Congress held in April and had in turn held their own Congress the results which were not recognized by FIFA whom they wrote seeking the blessings of the world governing body..
“FIFA in response would have basically said one, Matthias remains the president, two the date set by Matthias for the reconvening of the congress is August 9th and three, the agenda continues from the last agenda item were it was left off.
“In so doing FIFA, from our vantage point, put to rest the issues of IMC and the right to vote. One would have thought that these learned men would have agreed that our constitution does not speak to IMC’s.
It was an imposition by the Colin Klass-led administration placed on those associations and affiliates which he felt did not support him.
“Our records reveal of the 12 associations and affiliates, nine of them at critical periods have had IMC’s imposed upon them by the Colin Klass-led administration. The three that never suffered such an ignominy were the referees for obvious reasons, East Coast Demerara Football Association and the Bartica Football Association, two associations and one affiliate, whose executives were always deemed loyal to Colin Klass. Berbice, Upper Demerara, East Bank, Essequibo/ Pomeroon, West Demerara, Rupununi, Coaches, Women and Georgetown all suffered,” he added.
“What is intriguing is the GFA, mandated by the General Council which Lumumba was a part of, fought for the fundamental right to vote which led first to a court matter, GFA versus GFF and to FIFA and CONCACAF to come here to have the issues resolved.
“What is most reprehensible is the same Vernon Burnett and Lumumba who fought for the fundamental right to vote are now fighting to deny people the self-same right for which they fought,” he added.
Matthias went on: “At the reconvened Congress, three words were used by the Lumumba-led faction and they were compromise, reconciliation and resolution.
The posture adopted by the members of the Lumumba faction were far removed from the meanings of those words.”
Asked about the position of the GFF Electoral Committee, Matthias said: “The Electoral Committee even urged all parties not to disenfranchise any association and for that their position must be commended. If we are talking about compromise, reconciliation and resolution, do not disenfranchise anyone.
“The sub-committee practically accepted that until it was suggested they their faction choose one member to fill a member of the vice president position and our faction choose one member and that Lumumba should be their nominee. Then all hell broke loose among the Lumumba faction,” he said.
“It then became public to FIFA, CONCACAF and the congress, that the Lumumba faction had their own division and that everyone was fighting for a position either for himself or for someone else. Even the person who is in the background is moving and playing all of them.
“It became clear while he was having several meetings with his faction, they had no such intention of nominating him for any position whatsoever at the level of the GFF,” Matthias posited The reconvened Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF) congress on Saturday August 9th came to an abrupt end as several associations staged a walk out in protest surrounding the legitimacy of the several affiliates, their respective voting rights and representation.
The associations that took part in the walk out were the Georgetown Football Association (GFA), East Coast Football Association (ECFA) East Bank Football Association (EBFA), National Women’s Football Assoc-iation (NWFA), Guyana Football Referees Council (GFRC) and the Guyana Football Coaches Association (GFCA).
Taking part in the exile from a GFF executive standpoint were Ivan Persaud and Vanessa Dickenson. Persaud holds the position of Vice President within the federation while Dickenson is an executive committee member as well as the NWFA president.
The associations that remained in an attempt to continue the congress 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).
Attending the meeting as international observers were CONCACAF Director of Legal Affairs Marco Leal, FIFA Representative Anton Sealey and CONCACAF Legal Advisor Bruce Blake. Also witnessing the resulting events were the GFF electoral committee which comprised of Joseph Hamilton, Euclin Gomes and Dawn Holder.