Former chairman of the Normalisation Committee of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Clinton Urling has written CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani seeking his intervention in the dispute between the Guyana Football Federation and two of its members.
The two clubs, Slingerz and Alpha United have been debarred from participating in this year’s CONCACAF club championships because of a dispute surrounding the second staging of the GFF Elite League football tournament.
Slingerz won the inaugural Elite League tournament with Alpha United as the runners up thereby earning the right to participate at the region’s foremost club championships.
However, the two clubs disagreed with the GFF over the amount of teams to participate in the second tournament which commenced late last year and decided against participating in the said tournament.
The two clubs were joined by Pele FC and Georgetown Football Club (GFC) in withdrawing from the second season of the Elite League after being at loggerheads over several issues with the GFF.
As a result, CONCACAF advised the GFF that, because the two clubs were not in good standing with their local association, they would not be able to participate in the club championships.
Urling has disagreed with the decision by CONCACAF and has argued that the GFF should have made an effort to fight for the inclusion of the two clubs in the tournament.
Urling, yesterday took his case to the CONCACAF president Montagliani who responded by saying that the organization would look into the matter.
“I thank you for the information and as with correct procedural matter we will through our Member Associations department along with FIFA work with the Member Association to fully flush all pertinent information,” was Montagliani’s response to Urling.
Efforts to contact GFF president Wayne Forde for a comment proved futile.
Following is Urling’s letter to the CONCACAF president which was carbon copied to several officials inclusive of GFF President Wayne Forde, CONCACAF Legal Representative Marco Leal and FIFA Head of Member Associations Primo Corvaro, Montagliani.
“In 2014, both CONCACAF and FIFA saw the need for an impartial body (Normalization Committee) to manage, mediate and ensure that Guyana’s football was set on the right track with the crafting of a new constitution and the establishment of judicial committees to resolve disputes and ensure high ethics are maintained.
I am moved to write this because of what has been occurring in Guyana over the past few months and which culminated with CONCACAF using its discretion and deciding to debar the two clubs, which legitimately won the first complete season of the Guyana Football Federation’s Elite League, from participating in the Caribbean Club Championships.
For the sake of the game in Guyana, and to ensure a non-recurrence of what prompted the implementation of a Normalization Committee in 2014, I urge you to use your office as President of CONCACAF to examine and review the facts pertaining to this case and to give a fair hearing to both the GFF Executive Committee and the Clubs involved.
Much of the current impasse could have been avoided had the GFF utilized mechanisms contained within the statutes, in particular, the arbitration clause to settle the teams’ dispute concerning the second season of the Elite League.
CONCACAF based its decision on the grounds that the clubs are “not in good standing” with the GFF, without offering a specific explanation as to what that means or represents. CONCACAF owes both the GFF and the clubs an explanation as to how it arrived at the position that those clubs are not in good standing.
Did those clubs breach the statutes of the GFF? Were those clubs sanctioned by any of the Judicial Committees of the GFF? Did the GFF Exco sanction those clubs to put them in a position of bad standing with the Federation?
From my understanding of the entire imbroglio, which has played out over the last several months, the two teams (along with two others) disagreed with a position of the GFF Exco in relation of the administration of the second season of the Elite League. Those teams asked for arbitration to settle the matter and also they have gone to the GFF’s Disciplinary Committee to adjudicate the matter. None of those actions constitute a breach of the GFF statutes or would cause those teams to not be in good standing with the GFF. A mere disagreement with the GFF Exco or non-participation in the current league does not amount to being in bad standing. In fact, the current league standing has absolutely nothing to do with the 2017 Caribbean Championships.
My fear is that a precedence is set that if members of a member association disagree with an executive committee on a particular initiative and those members take actions that are within the confines of the statutes of the MA, they are deemed to have violated their standing with the MA.
It seems all too real that I have seen this movie before: the affected clubs are threatening legal actions and many in the football fraternity in Guyana are disappointed that Guyana will not be represented in the Caribbean Championships, I humbly ask that you review this case.”
Former Normalisation Committee Chairman