Former Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Normalization Committee (October 2014/ November 2015) Chairman Clinton Urling, spoke to Stabroek Sport on the current landscape of local football and issues affecting the sport.
1. What are your thoughts on the current landscape of local football? Is the GFF doing enough to promote and develop the sport or has it failed in its attempt to foster development?
“The GFF needs to urgently bring together all stakeholders and convene a Football Summit in an effort to carve a path forward as it relates to development at all levels. Concessions and olive branches should also be options so as to heal rifts that have occurred the past few years.
“I’m very delighted to see the advancement of the Providence location, which the NC was able to secure by promising residents that the facility will be developed for the good of the community and country. With the artificial turf and playing pitch, there is big potential for the GFF to craft a sustainable strategy to execute several development programs from grassroots to elite level.”
2. How would you grade the performance of the current administration especially on the local front?
“The current administration seems to be trying and are implementing programs that benefit the grassroots level. What I would like to see more of is the administration taking on new and creative ideas that impacts fan engagement, facilities, business side of football, sustainability, and elite football.
“Additionally, the sport has to attract investors and individuals willing to own clubs and invest financial resources to see those clubs achieve excellence. There is no Elite League without club investment and development.”
3. Given the recent two scandals involving high ranking members of the GFF for inappropriate behaviour towards females, what are your thoughts on these issues?
“The GFF has to adopt a zero tolerance approach/policy to these issues at all levels and ensure quick investigations and responses on its part. These issues raise a bigger question about local law enforcement and what is being done by the police force to address these incidences. Ideally that’s where the investigations should commence and not the GFF.”
4. How should the GFF deal with these matters given the nature of the allegations? If proven true, do these acts warrant a ban from the sport for the individual(s) involved?
“Of course bans are warranted if proven true. These actions have no place in sport and all
athletes should feel safe when engaging in sporting activities.”
5. How badly has the image of the GFF been tarnished by these episodes given that the alleged
perpetrators are high ranking officials of the GFF? “The matter still has to be proven. It’s crucial that these cases are done
expeditiously and in tandem with the GPF. This would send a clear signal of the GFF’s approach on these actions.”
6. Would you ever consider running for the post of GFF President or being a part of any slate for the upcoming elections?
“No interest in the post currently. I’m too busy with my business ventures to focus on being a GFF President. I would support any team, including the current administration, if they are interested in reaching out to stakeholders and valuing their opinions.”