ALL members, players, coaches, match officials and clubs that fall under the umbrella of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) are constitutionally obliged to abstain from unauthorised football events, both for the long-term benefit of football development and the safety and wellbeing of the football community, according the Federation’s president, Wayne Forde.
Forde was speaking after the GFF would’ve suspended five National players (Trayon Bobb, Kelsey Benjamin, Nicholas McArthur, Kevin Dundas and Sese Norville) for their participation at an unsanctioned Football tournament in Buxton.
The GFF boss asked that all legitimate stakeholders – from the GFF community to the Government of Guyana – to take a “firm collective stand and act swiftly now to nip these unauthorised activities in the bud.”
Forde believes that the current climate, with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing and lockdown rules still in force, any such unsanctioned events should be boycotted by the public and handled appropriately according to the law.
“We have been extremely concerned and alarmed to hear several reports of top national players and registered match officials participating in a specific unauthorised football competition in Buxton, alongside images of large crowds convening at the community ground at night to watch,” Forde said.
“It’s a beggars belief that anyone would put the health of players, match officials and the public at risk at this delicate time, and that this should apparently go completely unchecked by the national authorities and the local police,” Forde noted, while urging the National COVID-19 Task Force and Government of Guyana to intervene in the interests of public health.
“Separately, we expect our national team players and registered referees to act as role models and lead by example, both by making responsible decisions for themselves and their loved ones during this health crisis and by following the rules of the GFF Constitution that they are bound by. The behaviours of some of our national players is even more baffling given that the Golden Jaguars are currently preparing for FIFA World Cup qualifiers next month.”
Match officials Dwayne Johnson, Deon Feasall and Roydon Ramsay, along with Coaches Dwayne Jacobs, Philbert Moffatt, Sharon Abrams and Sherwin Neblett were also suspended for their role in the tournament at the Buxton Community Centre Ground.
Forde said if the GFF does not act to defend its Constitution to avoid a state of lawlessness resulting from unregulated football, “the Federation’s compliance with FIFA and Concacaf statutes will be threatened, possibly resulting in Guyana’s suspension from football governance structures, international football competitions and funding for football development projects…This is what is at stake.”
Apart ensuring the safety of players, spectators and officials, the GFF said their role is to also reduce the potential for money laundering, illegal gambling and other illicit financial activities; ensure that all conflicts, sporting and otherwise, arising from a competition are adjudicated through the GFF’s FIFA-approved constitutional processes.
“Without these structures in place, we risk enabling a lawless free-for-all that will not only jeopardize the sustainable development of the game and our young talent, but also open the door to criminal elements and match fixing,” Forde highlighted.