Alleged sexual misconduct case against former football referee dismissed
The Guyana Football Federation (GFF) indicated Tuesday that their independent Disciplinary Committee agreed to dismiss the case of sexual misconduct allegations made by female referees in 2018 against former FIFA referee Roy McArthur.
In a statement to the media, GFF said they received the official decision from the Committee on February 27, 2023.
The four-member Disciplinary Committee, headed by Attorney-at-Law Eusi Anderson, unanimously agreed to dismiss the case “due to a lack of evidence as none of the accusers were willing to give evidence before the Committee.”
According to the GFF release, “All efforts were made to facilitate their testimonies over the last four years.”
The Disciplinary Committee’s other members for the case were State Counsel Shawnette Austin, former Guyana Trades Union Congress Vice-President Lancelot Baptiste and Project Manager Joshua Griffith.
“It is, of course, extremely disappointing that any information on this highly sensitive case has come to light prematurely and before the Federation’s official response. This has raised the risk of misinformation and distortion in the communication of the verdict and the circumstances of the case, the GFF stated.
According to the GFF, “in 2018, female referees accused McArthur of encouraging and participating in sexual harassment and predatory sexual behaviour.”
As with all matters of this nature, all the appropriate procedures and processes were followed by the GFF in accordance with FIFA regulations and in line with international best practices, good governance, accountability and transparency.
“At all times, the welfare and rights of the female referees and McArthur were treated with the utmost importance.”
The GFF indicated that given the weight of the matter, a special five-member Board of Inquiry (BoI) was set up to conduct an initial investigation.
The BoI was chaired by Vice President of the Guyana Olympic Association Dr. Karen Pilgrim and included University of Guyana lecturer Dr. Melissa Ifill, Human Resources expert Karen Joseph, and Karen De Souza and Joy Nichola Marcus-Reid of women’s rights advocacy group Red Thread.
The BoI submitted its findings on November 19, 2018, and, on January 7, 2019, McArthur was suspended pending an official decision by the Disciplinary Committee, which is part of the GFF’s judiciary apparatus, established in line with FIFA regulations and operating independently of the GFF administration and executive.
The GFF has a zero-tolerance sexual harassment policy and takes any accusations of misconduct extremely seriously as it seeks to promote football development all across Guyana.
The Federation’s Code of Conduct Policy outlines clearly acceptable behaviours of individuals in an organisation, including directors, employees, officials and associates.
“GFF will continue to conduct regular sensitisation workshops for all staff and officials to ensure that all members of the football community understand the importance of professional boundaries, the rights of others, and the importance of the code of conduct.”