GFF/Kashif and Shanghai take full responsibility for “overcapacity” at Futsal final

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President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF), Wayne Forde, reading from a prepared statement on Tuesday, apologised and accepted full responsibility along with partner, the Kashif and Shanghai Organisation, for what he deemed an “overcapacity” at the recently concluded year-end Futsal final.

On January 8, the final of the tournament was staged at the Cliff Anderson Sports Hall, and there was a massive crowd in attendance.

From all accounts, the large gathering was in breach of COVID-19 regulations, which the organisers had signed on to when they were granted permission to host the event.

“It is, therefore, with great regret and sadness that we witnessed what took place at the final of the futsal tournament last weekend,” the GFF top brass stated on Tuesday at a press conference held at Federation’s Secretariat.

“Despite the obvious difficulty of controlling such a large, unexpected number of people in a small space, it was clearly wrong and unacceptable that an over-capacity crowd was allowed entry into the building. This created an unnecessary hazard to public health and runs against everything we stand for at the GFF.”

He added, “Let me be clear that the GFF and its partner Kashif and Shanghai take full responsibility for this outcome. We have launched a thorough internal investigation to understand what went wrong and why, and how this can be addressed in the appropriate way.”

Scenes from the recent futsal event that was in breach of the COVID-19 protocols

The GFF head was further questioned on what precisely were the protocols they had to adhere to, but was unwilling to specifically divulge such information.

A norm that has been developed for sports has been 40% capacity at venues with patrons having to be fully vaccinated.

“I think I would have addressed all the issues regarding our concerns for the final of the futsal in my statement and I don’t wish to comment anything further on that matter; I am sorry about that,” Forde stated in response to a question from News Room Sport.

Usually, whenever there are breaches the National COVID-19 Task Force would sanction the organisers.

Forde had stated in an interview with News Room Sport previously that it would be practically impossible for the sport to be sustained being played in a ‘bubble’ and void of fans in Guyana.

However, he was unwilling to comment further, if they do face sanctions for the alleged breach, how the sport would manage going forward.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Brigadier (Ret’d) Mark Phillips, who heads the National COVID-19 Task Force (NCTF), says that the body is committed to investigating all reports of COVID-19 breaches, especially at events where permission was granted with the understanding that the COVID-19 regulations would be adhered to.

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