A major blow has been dealt to the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Elite League as six clubs have signaled their intention not to commence the second season of the event due to several pertinent issues. According to information emanating from a letter sent to the GFF by the clubs, the teams following an emergency group meeting on Wednesday have opted not to start the second season, which was slated to commence on September 18th.
The meeting featured seven of the eight Elite League clubs, with the only absentee being the Tucville-based Fruta Conquerors. The clubs that signed the manuscript were Alpha United, Georgetown Football Club (GFC), Guyana Defence Force (GDF), Monedderlust FC, Pele FC and Slingerz FC. Buxton United abstained from signing. Excerpts from the communication said “We the undersigned clubs are strongly objecting to the manner in which the newly elected GFF has arrived at the decision to make changes to the Elite League. As a consequence of your high-handed approached against the Elite Clubs, please be advised that we the undersign clubs are not prepared to play or participate in the Elite League under new and illegal playing rules set unilaterally by the GFF Exec, showing a total disregard and lack of respect for the eight Elite Clubs”.
Outside of the fact the federation has not paid the players for eight match days, which amounts to over $25,000 per player and totals over three million dollars, the main conflict presently facing the teams is the GFF’s decision to increase the membership of the tournament to ten teams without properly consulting with the other participants. It was earlier revealed that the Linden unit Topp XX and the East Coast of Demerara team Victoria Kings were slated to enter the league. The statement further read “Please note that the Elite League rules were arrived at by proper consultation between clubs and the Normalization Committee appointed by FIFA. The wisdom of the FIFA guided approach reflected transparency and participation by the stakeholders in Guyana’s football. One must remember that such high handed approach in the past was the causative factor in FIFA sending in a Normalization Committee of Guyana”.
It continued “All members of the GFF would have signed the contract for the Rules and Regulation governing the Elite League therefore placing contractual obligations on all parties involved for a period of two years. We are contending that any party wishing to change the agreement should do so after consultation and the full consent of all the parties involved (i.e. the GFF and the 8 Elite Clubs)”. According to the manuscript, “It will be a contractual breach if one party (the GFF) unilaterally changes the rules and regulations without the permission of the other parties (the Clubs). This will open up the clubs to huge financial losses and possible litigation”. Similarly, the document highlighted the pronouncement by the GFF to reduce the number of non-national players for each squad from eight to three without consultation and agreement, declaring this decision places the clubs in possible contractual financial dilemmas and incurs limitations on the coaching staff of the respective teams.
“Notwithstanding the technical drawbacks the coach would face in finalizing his roster and all this is happening after the GFF transfer window is closed” it added.
On the matter of relegation and promotion, the correspondence posited the original contract signed by the clubs will not feature relegation or promotion until the end of the second season of the Elite League, indicating the process of increasing the amount of teams is in fact an act of promotion.The dispatch stated “In addition according to the GFF’s constitution it caters for a membership of eight Elite League Clubs as members of the GFF. Any effort to increase such membership from eight to ten must be done through a congress to amend the constitution to facilitate an increased membership”.“In closing we are asking that the GFF allow the Elite League to continue as contractually agreed with the eight clubs for the two year period. And further discussions be held not to change the rules but to look at ways to improve it going forward” the letter concluded.