Bundled out in the first round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (WCQ), GFF Normalization Committee (NC) Chief Clinton Urling yesterday said that tens of millions of dollars were plugged into the Guyana programme over the two qualifying matches.
Guyana suffered a first round elimination at the hands of St. Vincent and the Grenadines via the away goal rule, finishing their two-legged affair 6-6 on aggregate following a 4-4 draw at the
National Stadium on June 14th.
In the opening leg at the Arnos Vale Stadium, Guyana and the Vincentians battled to a 2-2 stalemate. Guyana were eliminated on the away goals rule after the visitors scored four goals away from home compared to the Golden Jaguar’s two away goals.
In an interview with Stabroek Sports, the federation chairman said “Taking part in a two-match round in two different territories for the WCQ is a costly undertaking. In our case, the cost is in the range of 25-30 million”.
He further said “The majority of the cost came from transportation, accommodation, meals, and players and officials’ remuneration. Of course a portion of this cost is offset by sponsorship and gate receipts”.
According to Urling “Recognising the costs involved in preparing and participating in international football tournaments FIFA has allocated US$300,000 to all Its MAs (Member Associations) for their teams to prepare for the world cup qualifiers and also to participate in the men’s and women’s Olympic qualifiers”.
He declared “For any FIFA MA to be successful over the long term much is dependent on corporate and government support. In Trinidad for example, the Ministry of Sport pays the salaries for the coaches and technical staff of its several national teams (Men’s, Women’s, u-23, u-20s etc) and also provide significant funding for those teams to participate in international tournaments and friendlies”.
Urling noted “Currently in Guyana, the GFF receives no financial support from government and this is a situation we hope will change under the new government. In terms of corporate support, we have seen commendable support from Banks DIH, ANSA McAl and Demerara Distillers, but more corporate support is needed and additional companies need to come on board and support the football programme”.
According to Urling “The GFF finances will be revealed at the Congress at the end of the NC’s tenure. Our debt profile has decreased from $90 million to just around $45 million since the NC took office and based on a repayment schedule set by FIFA”.
Asked if the GFF received a document from its English counterpart regarding the competitive eligibility of Matthew Briggs, he said “The GFF received no such document from the English FA. That is totally an untruth! In the case of Briggs, after he received his Guyanese passport (on June 12) he had to formally write to FIFA seeking a change of Football Association”.
He further said “The process is handled by FIFA’s Player Status Committee and takes about 2 to 3 weeks to complete. This was necessary since Briggs participated in official International matches for the English FA on their junior squads”.