GFF’s disciplinary committee rules in favour of the clubs in Elite League matter

Despite FIFA and CONCACAF ruling weeks prior that the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has the constitutional authority to amend tournaments that fall under its jurisdiction, the federation’s disciplinary committee has ruled that the GFF has no such authority.

According to documents seen by Stabroek Sports, the disciplinary committee, which is headed by attorney-at-law Sanjeev Datadin and comprises Dr. Clement McEwan and Natasha Vieira, ruled on April 14th that “The constitution can only be amended by the Congress and the Executive Committee has no authority to unilaterally amend the constitution in any manner whatsoever. The amendment to increase the Elite League from eight members to 10 members was ultra vires the powers of the Executive Committee and is unlawful”.

The document disclosed under the headline `Orders for Disposal of Matter,’ “1. The complaint by the Elite League Clubs is upheld, 2. The Amendment to the Elite League Rules and Regulations by the Executive Committee is ultra vires and declared unlawful, 3. It is declared that there are eight Elite League Members as listed in Clause 10 of the constitution and any change/amendment to Clause 10 of the Constitution must be made by the Congress.”

Four clubs, Alpha United, Slingerz, Georgetown Football Club and Pele boycotted the second GFF Elite League tournament over whether the GFF had the right to decide the composition of the tournament. They subsequently filed a complaint on December 3rd 2016 against the federation to the disciplinary committee.

However this ruling, which occurred on the April 14th, is opposite to what CONCACAF Secretary General Philippe Moggio and his FIFA counterpart Fatma Samoura stated via official correspondences.

Moggio on November 9th 2016 declared “According to art. 36 par. 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”;

He further said “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”

“Unless a specific and separate written agreement between the GFF Executive Committee (or former Normalization Committee) and the Clubs exists and provides to 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;” Moggio added.

Meanwhile, General Secretary of FIFA Samoura in a letter on February 1st 2017 upheld the decision of CONCACAF, stating “It is within the power of the GFF Executive Committee to change the regulations of the Elite League, including determining the number of participating clubs, unless there is a binding written agreement between the GFF and the Elite League which would state otherwise- to the best of our knowledge, however, such an agreement does not exist,”.

In her letter Samoura referred to Article 36.21 of the GFF constitution which indicated that it is within the powers of the GFF Executive Committee to draw up regulations governing the conditions of participation in and the staging of competitions organized by the federation including the playing schedule.”

FIFA also declared that the expansion of the league will not affect the membership of the GFF congress, affirming the Congress is the only body authorized to make such an alteration.

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