GFF proposes 2021 competitions calendar, subject to Task Force approval
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) has proposed a comprehensive competitions calendar for 2021, subject to conditions and approvals from the National COVID-19 Task Force, following a successful trial run of fan-free matches at the year-end Bounce Back Football Classic tournament.
Under the proposals, competitive matches could kick off as early as mid-January with an official GFF futsal tournament, while full leagues and tournaments for men, women, boys and girls are provisionally slated to commence in March.
All competitions are contingent on a safe and secure playing environment and can only proceed with the approval of the authorities.
Many countries around the world have resumed sport activities despite the ongoing pandemic, via spectator-free or partially-attended events with rigid health and safety measures such as social distancing, masks, squad bubbles and testing in place.
Careful planning for this year’s proposed competitions has formed a crucial part of the 100-day ‘Bounceback’ initiative under the UEFA Assist programme, in which football administration experts from European associations have supported the GFF team in its preparations for the responsible resumption of football.
“Following the huge success of the year-end tournament, where we were able to show that football can be staged safely once the correct measures are in place, we are now hoping to move to the next phase of ‘Bounceback’ as we progress towards the careful return of competitive football in Guyana,” said GFF President Wayne Forde.
“However, with the COVID-19 pandemic still causing great suffering and disruption around the world, it is vital to emphasise that these competitions will only take place once the conditions allow and as the authorities feel it is safe. When we do move forward, we will ensure that all the necessary measures are in place to protect the wellbeing of our community.”
The GFF’s own COVID-19 Task Force will continue to oversee and implement the Federation’s ‘Bounceback’ strategy, with regional associations and private entities required to submit proposals for tournaments for review to ensure appropriate health and safety protocols are in place.
The year-end tournament, which featured three matches played without fans and with strict health measures in place, was staged as a dry run for the return of football in partnership with the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport and the Kashif and Shanghai Organisation.
If all goes to plan, under the GFF schedule, this year will feature seven months of sustained competitive football for senior men and women, with a similar tournament duration for each layer of youth football, in line with FIFA guidelines for funding and optimal development.
“In order to give our homegrown talent the best chance to reach its full potential, especially after the disruption of 2020, we will make every attempt possible with the support of the authorities to complete as much of this ambitious programme as we can,” said Forde.
“If any competitions cannot be completed as scheduled for any reason, we will find new dates when conditions allow.”
Below is the proposed calendar of activities