The establishment of a comprehensive financial assistance plan for its members, the launch in 2021 of a professional league, and the implementation of a club charter to accelerate football development when the sport resumes after the pandemic were among the raft of initiatives announced by the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) when it held its 2020 Ordinary Congress on Saturday at the Pegasus Hotel.
The Congress, which was postponed from May this year due to the Covid19 pandemic, saw participation from the Regional Associations, Affiliates, and Elite Clubs, and they were enjoined by President Wayne Forde to redouble their efforts to usher in a new era for football in Guyana given the unprecedented level of financial and technical support now available.
“I would like to remind us all of the great privilege we enjoy as stewards of the world’s greatest sport here in Guyana. We will offer extensive equipment support to ensure you have what you need,” President Forde told the socially-distanced delegates.
“With FIFA, Concacaf and UEFA on board, we have the resources and support to transform football and the lives of our young people forever in Guyana, from the ground up. It is our duty to work together with a shared vision to deliver excellence and to ensure that we do not miss out on this once-in-a-generation opportunity. It is our duty to develop football for all in Guyana. And it is our duty to leave behind a better state of affairs than we found.”
The GFF Members Financial Assistance Programme – MFAP, which mirrors the FIFA Forward model for funding, will annually allocate funds to members for administration and operations, equipment and materials, competitions and technical development, and infrastructure development.
Regional Associations will receive GY$600,000 each year, Affiliates will be granted GY$500,000 and Elite League clubs can access GY$400,000 for approved costs and projects, under on a range of strict compliance and oversight measures. In addition, members will receive 100 balls, 200 cones, 40 training hurdles and 100 bibs each year, and four junior and four senior team kits every two years.
Under the GFF Club Charter Programme, which is a system designed to help clubs that are not yet ready to apply for Concacaf club licensing, clubs will receive additional equipment and technical support once criteria such as coaching standards and commitments to women and youth teams are met.
On the eve of the Congress, UEFA and Concacaf had announced plans to help the GFF develop Guyana’s first professional league, with a specific focus on capacity building to create a model that is sustainable and suited to local market conditions, and these plans for this initiative were outlined by President Forde.
Congress delegates also paid tribute to recently passed Argentinian football legend Diego Maradona, and were joined in this by Argentinian Ambassador to Guyana Felipe Alejandro Gardella, who unveiled a life-sized portrait of Maradona that will be on display in the Pegasus foyer for one week.
The perennial contentious issue surrounding financial matters related to the Golden Jaguars’ match against Mexico in a 2012 qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup was finally settled after an independent investigation was conducted. Under the settlement, each player and member of squad staff, or relative if appropriate, will receive a one-off payment of US$500 as gesture of goodwill.
“We hope this gesture goes some way to repairing the years of disappointment that many of the heroes of that golden era of Guyanese football have had to endure,” Forde said.
Additionally, several other announcements and updates were given to Congress members in areas such as:
∙ FIFA COVID-19 emergency financial support solidarity and women’s football funds ∙ The GFF Hinterland football development plans
∙ GFF Infrastructure Development Programme
∙ GFF Women’s Football Development Programme
∙ GFF 2021 annual budget plans
∙ GFF “return to play” plans under UEFA Assist “Bounceback”
∙ The transfer of management of the GFF Academy Training Centres to the Regional Associations
∙ The 2021 football calendar for domestic and international fixtures
∙ A new GFF Disciplinary Committee