Following the conclusion of their investigation into the shooting incident at the Petra Organization Futsal finale, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has concluded that the security arrangements for the event were inadequate but has nevertheless given approval for the match to be replayed under specific conditions.
“Please be informed that the GFF, on concluding its investigation and review of Statements from Officials in relation to the incident and also taking into consideration the details surrounding the previous incident of Thursday 8th March 2018, the Executive Committee can no longer exercise reasonable confidence that the security arrangements were adequate during the conduct of the tournament,” the GFF wrote in a correspondence signed by General Secretary Renella Bourne (Ag) and sent to the Petra Organization Co-Director Troy Mendonca.
“Additionally, following consultation with the National Sports Commission through the office of the Director of Sports, we found no information to mitigate our conclusion,” the GFF added.
“It is therefore the decision of the Executive Committee of the GFF to permit the replay of the Finals Game Only under the following conditions: 1. The game shall be played without the presence of spectators. 2. The game shall be played on a week day (Monday-Friday). 3. The game shall be played no later than 17:00hrs and 4. The GFF must be notified of the replay date no later than 48 hours prior to kick off,” the release added.
The final of the annual competition met an unceremonious and embarrassing conclusion after several gunshots were discharged by unknown individuals during the half time interval with the defending champions Sparta Boss leading opponents Bent Street 2-0. The shooting, which originated from the western side of the facility, triggered a stampede that injured several fans, as individuals scrambled to safety.
Mendonca, who is also the coordinator of the event, in a press release following the incident, stated that the matchup was forced to stop at halftime due to a disturbance between a “male and his female counterpart.”
Though the above-mentioned conflict was confirmed by witnesses, several spectators who spoke on the condition of anonymity, alleged that incident also escalated because of a sizable wager that went sour between individuals affiliated to the finalists.
The decision of the GFF to allow the replay of the final must be approved by the National Sports Commission, which has suspended all Futsal Tournaments until further notice at the facility.
This was revealed by Director of Sport Christopher Jones, during an exclusive interview with Stabroek Sport following the episode.