Slingerz FC to withdraw participation from STAG Elite League
By Rawle Toney
Guyana’s number one club, Slingerz FC, is holding out, that they will not be participating in the STAG Elite League second season, which kicks off on November 13 at the Demerara Cricket Club (DCC) Ground.
In fact, according to the club’s General Manager Colin ‘BL’ Aaron, the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Incorporated, is yet to address a number of issues relating to the League, and as such, are still calling for a mediation process to find a common ground.
“Slingerz is now in the process of writing the GFF, withdrawing our participation from the 2016/2017 league, until they have an arbitration to settle this impasse, because we have concerns that are still to be addressed by the Federation and yet we see the Federation ignore our call for arbitration” Aaron sternly noted.
He further stated that “we’re still asking for an arbitration; even if means we have to put our case out there or go to the Court of Arbitration (for sports), we will follow all the mechanisms put in place by the constitution and we will stand our ground. To date, the Federation (GFF), have not responded to a single document sent to them, so that gives me the opinion that we’re not being seen as a member of the Federation, but rather a club participating in the Federation’s tournament”.
“Our concern is the manner in which the Federation went about the issue; first we engaged in a contract, which states we will play, as-is for two years, which came about by extensive consultation between clubs and the Elite League and the Normalisation Committee which was heading the GFF at the time” Arron said.
After close to six months, the GFF and several clubs are at loggerheads with regards to the changes made to the league, with the clubs calling the move by the local governing body “unconstitutional”.
The GFF expanded the league eight to ten teams, bringing in Linden’s Topp XX and East Coast Demerara’s Victoria Kings, but, some of the original league members are holding out that the move is breach of ‘contract’ which was signed during the tenure of Guyana’s first Normalisation Committee.
However, Aaron is adamant that “the Execo (Executive Committee) does not have authority to expand the membership of the federation, it will require the correct procedure as the constitution states clearly…the federation could only recommend to congress.. so until such time, Slingerz will not participate in the Elite League and the Elite League is eight Elite Clubs; anything more than that is not the Elite League”
In an article published in the October 31 edition of the Guyana Chronicle, former Chairman of the FIFA installed Normalisation Committee Clinton Urling, is still maintaining that a contract was made between the inaugural eight Elite Clubs and the then football governing authority in Guyana, despite the GFF President Wayne Forde stated at a recent Press Conference that “there was no contract. Instead there were Regulations for the 2015–2016 season and these do not constitute a contract”.
At a recent Press Conference, held at the GFF, Forde stated “the Regulations are not a contract. The Regulations are issued on the sole authority of the GFF Executive Committee based on the power conferred by the Statutes. That being said, the GFF Executive Committee has the authority to modify the Competition Regulations and would be entitled to add additional clubs with a purely sporting objective.”
But Urling, in the report feature in the Guyana Chronicle, said ““we agreed upon, and it is not just the Rules and Regulations that we agreed upon, we also, at that time agreed on how we will administer the relegation and delegation part where teams would have been part of the current construct for a period of two years”
Urling added “the reason for that two years came about because teams indicated that they would have invested enormous sums of monies to participate in the first League and it would have been disadvantageous for them to participate for just one year,since it would be difficult to recoup their investments. So we agreed mutually to run the League with the current construct for two years”.
“Regulations are on-the-field regulations and I think that is what Mr. Forde is referring to, with his extensive football knowledge, but ours went beyond on-the-field, ours actually talked about the structure of how the League would be administered. Again agreements are contracts between parties and those agreements should be honoured” said the former Normalisation Committee Chairman.
Meanwhile, Aaron wants to make it clear, that Slingerz FC has worked hard to be the country’s number one club, mentioning “why would we not want to play football? we spend a lot of money to stay in football over the years, the players are training and still being paid, as against Alpha United, who decided to send home their players. But we (Slingerz) had to consider that our players have to eat, that’s their livelihood”
“All we want is a mediator, even the (Guyana) Olympic Association could be a mediator. One document governs football and that’s the constitution, if you violate it, it’s straight forward. If the club(s) violate it (the Constitution) we accept, but this notion where it is propagated by the president of the GFF that after extensive deliberation with FIFA and CONCACAF and was given the directives to move ahead with the team, that’s a NO-NO. All members of FIFA are independent and are guided by their independent constitution, FIFA and CONCACAF doesn’t get involve like that” Aaron said.
Efforts to reach the GFF President at the time of this report proved futile.