Female football referees fail to show up as COI gets underway

The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Commission of Inquiry (COI) into the sexual harassment of female referees by match officials and administrators, got off to a slow start yesterday at the Olympic House, Liliendaal.

The forum which was set to start at 15:00hrs, commenced until 15:45hrs and was attended by no female referee or any victim of alleged sexual harassment.

Interestingly, most of the GFF referees [both male and female] were taking part in a fitness test at the National Track and Field Centre, Leonora, which was programmed to start also at 15:00hrs.

Present at the COI was its five member all female commission that will oversee process. They were Chairman and former Normalization Committee member Dr. Karen Pilgrim, Vice President of the Guyana Olympic Association, Dr. Melissa Ifill of the University of Guyana, Karen Joseph, Human Resources Consultant, Karen De Souza, Red Thread and Joy Nichola Marcus-Red, also of Red Thread.

However, according to a referee who spoke on condition of anonymity, “This seems like it was intentionally done, why they would setup the COI to commence on the same date and time with the fitness programme. All the referees would be at the fitness test and not be able to attend the first day of the COI. It seems like the GFF is not taking this matter very seriously.”

According to an earlier release from the GFF, “The objectives of the COI include, but are not limited to the following: to develop a policy against sexual harassment for referees in Guyana; to evolve a permanent mechanism for the prevention and redress of sexual harassment cases; to ensure the implementation of the policy in letter and spirit through proper reporting of the complaints and their follow-up procedures; to create a secure physical and social environment to deter any act of sexual harassment and to promote a social and psychological environment to raise awareness on sexual harassment in its various forms.”

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