GFF has no obligation to entertain a promotional group’s request to organize a football tournament

Dear Editor,

I refer to Sports Scope: Our Opinion ‘Has the GFF exceeded its mandate?’ published in Stabroek News of November 29. The GFF has never had a moral obligation to entertain a private promotional group’s request to organise a football tournament. While I would agree that three weeks is definitely too long a period of time to elapse for a response to be forthcoming, nevertheless, private promoters still don’t have the right to officially launch their promotion publicly, without being assured that all systems are in place first. It’s for this simple reason that this 5-a-side nonsense must cease forthwith until such time the situation of the players and their welfare have been regularised.

First, and foremost what percentage of players is affiliated to the GFF via clubs? Further, how many of them play in the GFF Elite League, which may cater for 250 players from the 10 clubs? Should an Elite League player receive an injury on an asphalted/concrete surface and be side-lined for 4-6 weeks, would a private promoter take on the medical expenses, since the insurance  wouldn’t do so? As for the other players playing domestically in various associations for their respective clubs, they still are under the auspices of the Guyana Football Federation. Addi-tionally, the Guyana Football Federation as the governing body for the sport nationally, is responsible for the development, promotion and regularization of the sport. Suffice it to say, the GFF is also constitutionally empowered to “sanction, discipline and ban any player(s), official(s) and club(s)” that fail to adhere to its directive, about participating in unsanctioned tournaments/competitions. In fairness to the GFF, it’s this body through the instrumentality of FIFA and CONCACAF, which over the years has provided funding, equipment and resource personnel to coordinate courses, seminars and workshops in the areas of administration, coaching, recovery from injuries, nutrition and refereeing, just to name a few. Is it then fair for a private promotional group to utilize and exploit the ballers for financial gain? Would any promotional interest go the extra mile to have adequate security and an ambulance service in the event of a serious injury occurring? What of a simple stretcher, mobile lavatories, moreso for the women, along with changing facilities ‒ or is this done in public?

The aforementioned are just a few of the conditionalities the Federation can include in a contract prior to granting approval. Prize monies, referees’ fees and levy fees, etc, should also be decided before the contract is inked. However, from all the indications there are a few individuals who are utilizing their position within the Sports section of the print media to promote private promoters’ self-aggrandizement. Is this the case with any Sports journalist from Stabroek News? Would it be prudent for participating teams in a 5-a-side tournament, to drop off their registration forms to a Sports journalist, at their place of employ? Wouldn’t this be a conflict of interest?

Editor, if the GFA sees it fit to organise a year-end 5-a-side, surely it should be for clubs, over which they have jurisdiction and not street teams. Should the GFA deem it fit to contract a private organisation to coordinate their affairs, then it’s their business. In the final analysis private promoters being allowed to come through clubs or associations to seek approval, should be reviewed. As it relates to the Guyana Futsal Association, surely a conflict of interest arises with its President, as a part of a promotional group that promotes a year-end tournament, while for the entire year the GFF affiliate is dormant. Once again this affiliate must get its act together and have an annual calendar of activities for Futsal football only.

The World Club Championship was initially developed and promoted by a private promotional group, but was eventually taken away by FIFA, which controls it until today. In relation to disciplinary matters, which disciplinary committee, would be utilised for these ad-hoc organised tournaments?

Yours faithfully,

Lester Sealey

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