Forde reiterates need for responsible approach to football restart

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Guyana Football Federation (GFF) President, Wayne Forde, hopes persons within the fraternity can temper their enthusiasm as the sport is poised to return to on-field activity after close to an 11-month dormancy, primarily due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In an exclusive interview with News Room Sport on Tuesday, the GFF head explained it is positive news to hear sport events can resume pending approval from the Minister of Health, but cautioned they are many decisions to weigh and it is important they be responsible.

“We do not want a sponsor to be sitting on the side-line and saying to themselves here is the GFF being very reckless in how it is approaching the return of on-field activities and that is why we are going to encourage as many voices on this [discussion] and their own views, but we have to be responsible.”

He added, “I don’t believe that when the [COVID-19] Task Force lifted the restriction on sport activities they expected that sporting federations and associations would just recklessly engage in competitions and other on-field activities that would put their members, players and officials at risk, so we have to be mindful of that and we have to temper that enthusiasm.”

GFF President Wayne Forde

According to the new measures, every person or organiser hosting an approved sporting event shall be responsible for ensuring that the measures under the notice, as well as the guidelines that the Ministry of Health may issue are complied with.

Forde indicated that as they continue to deliberate the best and most practical approach to a restart, the primary focus will have to be ensuring all involved are not exposed to undue risks.

“Yes, we are eager to see on field activities but we still have an obligation to protect our players, our fans, our officials and all of our stakeholders that are critical to the operation of football on the field. There is no shortage of enthusiasm, we all want to see some on-field activities, every player wants to play football, I want to see a good football game but we have to be mindful.”

The GFF is currently partnering with Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) on a return to football guideline which encourages a broad-based engagement by all stakeholders on the best possible to way to restart the sport in respective countries.

Based on such discussions and then dependent on the requirements the Federation has to fulfill to be granted permission to conduct on field activities then a final decision would be made on the approach.

“Clearly the objective is to get something happening, [but] what we do will be the critical decision and how we do it because we have an obligation to give every category to our football player population an opportunity to play football. We have to be clear on what the lifting of those restrictions mean for what is typically on-field football”, the GFF President stated.

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