CONCACAF endorses GFF’s right to modify League rules

In a strongly worded document, Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) officially confirmed that the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has the constitutional authority to modify the Elite League Football Tournament.

The five-point letter which was seen by this publication and signed by General Secretary Philippe Moggio said, “According to article. 36 paragraph 2-i of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Constitution, the GFF Executive Committee has the authority (and obligation) to “draw up regulations governing the conditions of participation and staging of competitions organized by the federation”. The article further states that “this shall not affect the composition of the Congress”;

The document which was copied to several high ranking officials of CONCACAF and FIFA, inclusive of FIFA Head of Member Associations Primo Corvaro, and CONCACAF Director of Member Associations Marco Leal, noted;

“Based on the authority granted by the cited article, the GFF Executive Committee is to issue the GFF Elite League Regulations (and of any other Competition organized by the GFF). It must be specified that although the GFF Executive Committee may consult its stakeholders with respect to the content of the Regulations, such Regulations are to be issued on the sole authority of the Committee and based on the powers conferred by the GFF Constitution. In this respect, the Regulations do not constitute a “binding contract” between the Federation and the Clubs participating in the League;”

Excerpts from the correspondence said, “Unless a specific and separate written agreement between the GFF Executive Committee (or former Normalization Committee) and the clubs exists and provides for the contrary, the GFF Executive Committee has the authority to modify the GFF Elite League Regulations and would be entitled to add additional participating clubs;”.

Flashback - Power Players-Alpha United President Odinga Lumumba (2nd from left), GFC’s General Secretary Faizal Kham (left), Sambora Inc. representative, Kareem Jones (centre), Slingerz FC General Manager Colin Aaron (2nd from right) and Pele FC President Robbie Rambarran (right) at the press conference held at the Sambora Boardroom last week.
Flashback – Power Players-Alpha United President Odinga Lumumba (2nd from left), GFC’s General Secretary Faizal Kham (left), Sambora Inc. representative, Kareem Jones (centre), Slingerz FC General Manager Colin Aaron (2nd from right) and Pele FC President Robbie Rambarran (right) at the press conference held at the Sambora Boardroom last week.

The letter continued, “It must be clarified that until the principle of promotion and relegation is enforced, any modification of the number of Clubs participating in the League would not affect the current composition of the GFF Congress. This means any “new” Clubs would not be granted any membership rights and would therefore not hold any voting rights at the Congress. We would interpret that the 8 “original” clubs that currently hold membership/voting rights would retain their full membership rights and would continue to hold voting rights at Congress until the principle of promotion and relegation is enforced;”

According to the manuscript “However, once the principle of promotion and relegation is enforced, a proper mechanism to determine which clubs would hold membership/voting rights would have to be established in view that the GFF Constitution stipulates that the Members of the GFF are “the ‘eight (8) clubs of the Elite League” (cf. article 10 paragraph 1-b) of the GFF Constitution. In this regard, two options could be considered”.

“Amendment of the GFF Constitution to modify the number of the GFF Members: for example, increase of the number of the Elite League from 8 to 10 clubs, so the 10 clubs participating in the League would hold membership/voting rights. It is important to stress that any Constitutional amendment would have to strictly abide by the conditions established in the GFF Constitution; or -“Amendment of the GFF Elite League Regulations to establish a mechanism of selection of the 8 clubs (or representatives) that would exercise membership/voting rights” it concluded.

The main issue revolves around the federation’s decision to increase the membership to 10 teams without consulting the original eight teams. The teams invited to join the fray are Topp XX of Linden and Victoria Kings of the East Coast of Demerara.

The disgruntled clubs [Alpha United, Slingerz FC, Georgetown Football Club and Pele] currently argue that this move infringes on the original contract signed with the Normalization Committee (NC). The clubs state that relegation and promotion shall not occur until the end of the second season under the contract, and that increasing the membership is an act of promotion. They further contend that the approach of the GFF is in violation of the entity’s constitution.

The four clubs held a joint press conference stating their objections to the entire process and suggesting arbitration to resolve the matter. After the forum, the clubs informed the GFF of their intention of not to participate.

Among their objections was the process of the selection of the two clubs. They suggested that Riddim Squad, and Western Tigers should have been considered.

It should be noted that Riddim Squad is the only other club besides the two invited by the GFF, which possesses an Elite League license. Thus, in reality only these three clubs can be considered for membership of the league at the present time.

Following CONCACAF’s endorsement in writing, all the actions taken by the GFF to date are constitutionally correct, and in no way affects the voting rights of the present congress, which is one of the fears expressed by the quartet, who are interpreting that the additional clubs would have voting rights, a myth which has been dispelled by the fifth point of the letter from CONCACAF.

Considering all the points raised in CONCACAF’s correspondence, there is no reason why the four Elite clubs should not participate in the league.

Meanwhile, in a letter to the press, Buxton United (BUFC) secretary Eton Moses raised the two following points, “For example, how did GFC become Elite in 2015? The same member of the big four that asked why not other Clubs for inclusion, must answer this question. Is it because of $ or their Groupies. What National or Association tournaments did they win at any level in the last 15 years to be pronouncing now on the entry of Clubs?”

Moses further noted, “Example- the NC gave $2000 match fee per player but it is now $3500, the payment for Cards (red & yellow) were discarded  no Club had to pay, the participation fee was reduced and is now about to phased out. The point is a precedent was created but it was not negative news so the big four let it sleep. So BUFC is now asking if the $2000 match fee imposed by the NC was not a contract and whether the big four were consulted to change it and if they agreed. Hence, when the big four say they wanted to retain the agreements entered into with the NC, are they saying they want all or only aspects that please them?”

Should the four clubs, decide to go ahead with their boycott of the league, the ugly truth is that the quality of the league will be diluted and the players of the four clubs will be the real losers at the end of the day.

Gentlemen, the kickoff date for the league is November 13th at the Demerara Cricket Club ground.

Let the games begin.

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