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Chronicling the GFF Normalisation Committee’s Tenure


Dr. Karen Pilgrim


Tariq Williams


Rabindranauth Chandarpal

Eric Phillips

Eric Phillips


The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Head of Member Associations, Primo Corvaro, and CONCACAF’s Director of Legal Affairs, Marco Leal, announced on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 that a Normalisation Committee (NC) would run Guyana’s football until September 2015.

Clinton Urling - GFF Normalisation Committee Chairman

Clinton Urling – GFF Normalisation Committee Chairman

The NC consisted of five Guyanese: Clinton Urling (Chairman), Dr. Karen Pilgrim, Stuart May, Rabin Chandarpal and Tariq Williams.

Atop the long list of priorities for the five-member committee, apart from managing the day-to-day activities of the country’s football will be to adopt the new constitution of the Guyana Football federation (GFF); to amend the current one and to organise elections according the new constitution.




– At several meetings, the Committee met with several football stakeholders to get a sense of what was going on and the steps to be taken to rectify the problems plaguing Guyana’s football

-Committee Established a guiding framework for its tenure built around the tenets of:

  • Cooperation
  • Unity
  • Rule of Law
  • Equality
  • Honesty
  • Accountability
  • Transparency

 The Committee established its broad focus areas:

  1. Constitution Reform and Elections
  2. Football Issues (Road to 2018 world cup plan, National Teams, Competition, Players, Referees, Coaches, Grassroots, etc)
  3. Member Associations and Stakeholders Interaction (Associate members of GFF and interest groups)
  4. Administration of GFF (organisational structure, staffing, fiscal responsibility and accountability, governance, New Revenue, Marketing, Events hosting, etc)
  5. Infrastructure Development (Goal & Special Project)
  6. Sustainability (Strategic Plan)
  •  Chairman Urling met with CONCACAF officials, including president Jeffery Webb, at the CONCACAF headquarters in Miami.
  • Held Meeting with the government Minister of the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports to discuss the Goal project and other areas of possible collaboration between the GFF and the Ministry.
  • NC visited Linden on a fact finding mission and met with the Executive Committee of the UDFA and the former Executive Committee Members who were banned from the sport.
  • Held meeting with the GFF General Congress to determine the way forward for the December/Year End tournaments; members decided that Regional Associations will host own tournaments and they will support the Kashif And Shanghai tournament being shifted to Easter in 2015.


FIFA Development Office official visited and held two days of meetings with the NC. The FIFA team outlined all the development and support programmes available from FIFA and also advised on how the technical programme should be administered.

The NC received and accepted an invitation from Barbados to play an international friendly on February 01, 2015

Discussions commenced with Coach Jamaal Shabaaz to become the Interim Head Coach of the Senior Men’s National Team (Golden Jaguars) for the Barbados engagement

  • Held Interviews and employed a full time Director of Finance to run the GFF’s finance department. Kareem

    Kareem Jones – Director of Finance

    Jones is responsible for the finance and accounting department of the GFF. He is also tasked with reviewing, designing and implementing the Federation’s financial control systems in accordance with FIFA’s regulations.

  • Registered for Men’s and Women’s Olympic Qualifiers in 2015
  • Completed interviews for Technical Director (applicants from Romania, England, Canada, USA, Trinidad, Guyana) – Person to be named in 1st or 2nd week of January 2015
  • The following appointments were made:
  • Chairman of Referees Committee – Clinton Urling
  • Vice –Chairman of Referees Committee – Trevor Beckles
  • Chairman of Women’s Football Committee-Stuart May
  • Certificates and Cheques were handed over to FIFA Accredited International Referees 2015. See list below: Referee: Maurees Skeete: Trevor Johnson, Sherwin Moore; Assistant Referee: Venton Mars, Andrew Porter, Antoney Peart, Cleon Stephens and Wendell Lindey
  • Facilitated Alpha United and Guyana Defense Force in the registration for the CFU Club Championships 2015

 -Acting GS was relieved of duties commencing December 31, 2014

-NC held a year end GFF’s Press Conference to update the media on football related developments

January 2015


Claude Bolton – Technical Director

-The GFF signed Technical Director Claude Bolton to a four-year deal Chairman of the GFF. Bolton a Chartered Professional Coach (ChPC) in Canada brings with him over 15 years of professional coaching and technical experience. He holds a United States Soccer Federation National “A” License, a Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) “B” License, and a English Football Association International Coaching Licence. In addition, he holds National “A”, Goalkeeping, Fitness, and Youth licenses from the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), and also holds a National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) National Advanced Youth Certificate.

-TD Bolton attended CONCACAF Club Licensing Seminar in Miami

-Chairman Urling attended the CONCACAF World Cup Qualification draw in Miami

– Jamaal Shabazz appointed as interim Head Coach for the February 1 International Friendly against Barbados in Bridgetown.

Jamaal Shabazz

Jamaal Shabazz – Senior National Men’s Coach

-NC requested written submissions from Members on changes that they would like to see effected to the GFF constitution

-Held constitutional reform meeting with Members’ Presidents and Secretaries to solicit input into reforming the GFF constitution

-NC Chairman Urling appointed Head of the Referees’ Committee (RC) and first meeting held. Members of the Guyana Football Referees Council (GFRC) were invited to serve on the RC. Chairman underscored need for RC and GFRC to work together and share responsibilities for referees’ development


-The Golden Jaguars, Guyana’s Senior National Football team, and Barbados played to a 2 – 2 draw in their international friendly at the Barbados National Stadium

-FIFA provided training to two Technical Staff of the Federation to manage the Transfer Matching System (TMS). MAs were notified of the workings of the TMS system and their obligations under the system

-Engaged with Website developer to design and host new GFF website

– Constitutional Reform Committee met over 2 days at the Guyana Olympic Association (GOA) to draft a new constitution for the Guyana Football Federation (GFF).

The Meeting included the NC Members, Head of FIFA’s Member Association Primo Cavaro, FIFA Legal Advisor Ruedi Bronnimann, CONCACAF legal Advisor Marco Leal, Former TTFA General Secretary Richard Groden, Social Activist Eric Phillips, Attorney-at-Law James Bond, President of the GOA and Attorney-at-Law K.A. Juman-Yassin, and Alexei Ramotar

-Post meeting briefing was done to Members of the GFF at Olympic House

-After interviewing and reviewing applications of several applicants, Ms. Diedre Davis employed as Assistant General Secretary

Richard Groden

Richard Groden – GFF General Secretary


Assistant General Secretary Diedre Davis

-Mr. Richard Groden confirmed as General Secretary; expected to start first week in March

-Wrote several international federations for international friendly matches for the March FIFA window

– Held discussions with Jamaal Shabaaz and Wayne Dover concerning their vision for Head Coach and Assistant Head Coach of the Senior Men’s and Under 23 Male National Teams


-General Secretary Richard Groden officially commenced duties on March 2

– Jamaal Shabazz and Wayne “Wiggy” Dover appointed Head Coach and Assistant Head Coach respectively for the senior national Men’s team and the national Under-23s on two-year contracts each

-FIFA’s Development Division Mr. Gregory Engelbrecht and Mr. Howard McIntosh visited Guyana between March 5th &7th to conduct an assessment of Guyana’s infrastructure and development needs. The officials visited several proposed sites of the FIFA Goal Project, including the providence Community center Ground and the Lenora Athletic Facility, and met with several stakeholders, including the Normalization Committee Members, General Secretary and Technical Director

-After several discussions, Banks DIH agreed to sponsor upcoming friendlies against St. Lucia and Grenada.


Neil Danns (L) and Matthew Briggs

– With the help of Mr. Faizal Khan and the management team of the Jaguars, British Premier League players Matthew Briggs and Neil Danns agreed to play for Guyana; both players are expected to start in the friendly matchup against Grenada. Briggs, 24, in 2007 at just 16 years 65 days old, became the youngest player to feature in the Barclays Premier League when he played with Fulham FC against Middlesbrough FC and now plays with Championship side Millwall FC, but is on loan to Colchester FC.

A member of Bolton Wanderers Football Club, Danns, 32, played for several top teams in the English Championship – Leicester City, Crystal Palace, Birmingham City and Leicester City – just to name a few, before signing permanently with ‘the Whites’ last year

-Saint Lucia and Grenada agreed to play two International friendlies against Guyana on March 22 and March 29 respectively; Guyana won both Games: 2-0 against St. Lucia and 2-0 against Grenada

-Head of the Referees Department Mr. Roy McArthur tendered his resignation effective 31st March, 2015. His replacement was Mr. Stanley Lancaster, who commenced duties at the Federation in March before McArthur’s departure

-Draft MOU between the GFF and the Referees Council prepared and sent to GFRC and RC for comments and queries

-NC member Tariq Williams appointed Head of the Competitions Committee; major responsibility being the sponsorship of the Elite League of the GFF

-New management position of Director of Sponsorship, Marketing, and Communications created and Ms. Trudy McCurchin hired to fill this role

-NC met with Executives of the Georgetown Football Club to discuss the possibility of the instillation of a synthetic turf pitch at the GF ground

-Technical Director launched and distributed the GFF Competitions Calendar for 2015


– Discussions between the GFF, the Ministry of Local Government and the Eccles/Ramsburg Neighbourhood Democratic Council (NDC) begun with all sides agreeing to enter into a lease agreement for the 8.5 Acres Providence Communty Centre Ground at Providence on the East Bank of Demerara. GFF procured the services of Attorney Juman Yassin to draft the lease agreement on behalf of the federation; the document was scanned and reviewed by the Attorney General and the Minister of Local Government

– NC Chairman Urling and Beach Soccer Committee member Mr. Rollin Tappin attended FIFA’s Beach Soccer Seminar in El Salvador between April 1 – 4, 2015

– NC Chairman, General Secretary Groden and Assistant General Secretary Diedre  Davis attended the XXXVIII CFU Ordinary Congress on April 15 in the Bahamas.

– NC Chairman, General Secretary Groden and Assistant General Secretary Davis attended the XXX Ordinary Congress and XXI Extraordinary Congress CONCACAF on April 16 in the Bahamas.

– British sports apparel supplier Admiral Sportswear selected as Official Uniform/Kit provider of the GFF

– GFF formally incorporated under the Companies Act of Guyana

– Competitions committee started planning for the Elite League. Structure, criteria and budgets were discussed

– New procedures for Accessing Referees was distributed to all members. Revised Referees service charges was also distributed to members.

– Grading System for Referees developed.

– GFF formally introduced its Technical Plan titled, “NEXT GENERATIONS PROJECT”. The Plan simplifies and articulates clearly the next steps that are necessary to aid Guyana’s Football development. It places at the forefront development in the areas of Grassroots, Youth, Women, and Coaching Education.

Part 1 of the Inaugural National Coaching School “D” Licence Course was held on the weekend of August 25 & 26 at the Ministry of Culture, Youth, & Sport Resource Centre in Georgetown.  A total of 20 candidates from various communities were invited to attend the course that addressed the philosophy and methodologies associated with coaching football to young children between the ages of 6-12, which FIFA refers to as “grassroots”

– On April 30 Guyana played its 4th international friendly match for the year against Suriname with the GFF team losing 1-0.


– Part II of the Inaugural National D Licence Course will conclude this coming weekend, May 02 & 03.  Candidates will have a series of assessments that will determine if they have achieved the level.

– NC Chairman and AGS Davis attended the Soccerex Asian Forum in Jordan on 3rd and 4th May on the banks of the Dead Sea.


The GFF Normalisation Committee Chairman Clinton Urling, flanked by other members of the GFF and the NDC.

– On May 09, the GFF signed a 30-year lease with NDC for Providence Community Centre ground.  Chairman Urling said the facility would feature an artificial playing surface, seating, lighting, Futsal and Beach Soccer playing surfaces alongside miniature football areas.

– NC member Karen Pilgrim led the GFF in outreach visits to Linden, Bartica and Essequibo to determine the legitimacy of the members of the Executive Committees of the GFF member affiliates in those regions.

– GFF Selects Elite League Clubs. The GFF invited applications for Elite Club License from all regional member associations to be submitted by May 12, 2015. A total of 11 applications where received. As per CONCACAF Guidelines, a First Instance Decision Making Body was established to review and pronounce on these applications. It was agreed that no NC members would sit on this body.

Following the review process, all 11 applications were approved for Elite Club License. The Competitions Committee then met with the view of choosing 8 of the 11 Clubs to participate in the soon to be launched Elite League.

The selection process was guided by four criteria that were established long before applications were received. These criteria were: Elite League License (which all 11 Clubs satisfied) , Budget and Financial standing, Competitive Results over a 3-5 year period and lastly, Geographic proximity of the Club.

Following a thorough review based on the criteria outlined, the following 8 clubs were invited to participate in the inaugural GFF Elite League : Alpha United, GDF, Slingerz FC, Pele, Fruta Conquerors, GFC, Buxton United and Monedderlust FC.

– GFF inks kit deal with Admiral Sportswear. Admiral will outfit all teams of the GFF, including the elite league and also the GFF will be the official authorised distributor of all Admiral Products in Guyana.Copy-of-admiral-os-navy

– New logo was designed for the Golden Jaguars Brand.

– New Men’s National Teams Uniform was designed

– On May 16 and 17, the Guyana Football Federation hosted a Referee Instructor/ Assessor Course for its local Referees Assessors. The course saw Referee Assessors and Instructors from Regions 3, 4, 6, 8 and 10 in attendance. There were a total of sixteen participants which included for the first time, two female Referee Assessors.

– FIFA Technical Development Officer Anton Corneal visited Guyana for two days. Corneal held several meetings with the Technical Director Bolton and his technical team and also visited the Bartica region to assess football conditions in the area.

Corneal lauded the positive work and changes he has seen in the landscape of Guyana’s football over the past few months. According to Corneal.

“the Normalisation Committee is very vibrant and proactive trying to follow best practices and one is by hiring a Technical Director who as far as I have seen, understands Guyana’s football and some of the history so he knows exactly the direction they need to move forward.” (Kaieteur News’ quote)

– GFF observes CONCACAF Women’s Football Day on May 23. Women from Berbice, East Coast Demerara, East Bank Demerara, Upper Demerara and Georgetown participated in the 3v3 games. GFF Normalisation Committee, Clinton Urling, said, “This initiative from CONCACAF is commendable and the Guyana Football Federation fully supports the development of women’s football from the Grassroots to the Senior Level.


Mark Rodrigues – National Women’s Head Coach

– Mark Rodrigues appointed Head Coach of the Women’s National Team. The appointment is specific to the Olympic Qualifiers where Guyana has been drawn in Group 4 along with host St. Kitts & Nevis and long time rival Cuba.

– On May 22, Invitations sent out to member affiliates of the GFF for an Extraordinary Congress to be held on June 26, 2015. The Purpose of the EC is to adopt a new constitution of the GFF and to review sanctions imposed on banned former Executive Committee members of the Linden (UDFA) regional association. The draft constitution was also distributed to members along with the invitation.

– GFF hosts Beach Soccer Referees Course May 23-24 at the Bayroc Center in Linden.

– Guyana Football Federation hosted its first Referee’s Beginners Course in 2015 on 23rd -25th May. The Course had twenty-seven participants of which sixteen (16) were female while eleven (11) males

– Architect Marcel Gaskin contracted to design the preliminary drawings for the GFF Providence High Performance Centre.

– Chairman Urling and Committee members Rabin Chandarpaul and Tariq Williams attended the 65th FIFA Congress in Zurich, Switzerland held on May 28 to 29.

-Dr. Ranvir Gajraj represented the GFF to the FIFA medical Conference in Zurich on May 28

– GFF purchased a new goal post from Florida based company SportsKits. The new post were necessary for the upcoming World Cup qualification match against St. Vincent.

– GFF issued press statement expressing its dismay with the events that occurred in Zurich with the arrest of prominent FIFA and CONCACAF executives, including President Jeffrey Webb.

The GFF called on Guyana and the region to ensure strict governance and transparency in football administration at home, regionally and at FIFA.

It further stated that the Normalisation Committee has started this process and has adopted a zero tolerance approach towards any unethical and improper act at the GFF.

We will continue to work towards improving our systems of transparency and accountability and to ensuring that all our stakeholders adhere to those rules

– GFF received logo pins

– Beverage Company Ansa Mcal became official sponsors for the World Cup Qualifiers Games against St. Vincent


– Eric Phillips appointed by FIFA to replace Stuart May on GFF’s Normalisation Committee. Mr. May migrated from Guyana to take up residence overseas.

Rawle Toney

Rawle Toney – GFF Director of Marketing and Communication

– Rawle Toney appointed as the GFF’s Director of Sponsorship, Marketing & Communications

 – CONCACAF hosts integrity workshops in Guyana.  The workshops contained Integrity Presentations by CONCACAF Integrity Officers. The purpose was to make participants aware of the danger of match manipulations, explain them the rules and regulations, hand out some information materials etc. Several sessions were held with the national teams, Referees and GFF member Administrators.

PM ags

Senior National Men’s team Caption Christopher Nurse (L) makes a presentation to Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo during a visit before their World Cup Qualifier

– Senior Men’s National football team paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Moses Nagamootoo. Minister within the Ministry of Education with the responsibility for Sport, Nicolette Henry and Director of Youth Trevor Williams, were also on hand during the team’s visit. The team’s captain presented the Prime Minister with an official player’s jersey.





Golden Jaguars – home kit

– New National Team Kit officially launched in time for WCQ matches on June 7 at the Guyana National Stadium.

– A one-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed between the GFF Referee’s Committee and The Guyana Football Referees Council. The agreement allows the two entities to work collaboratively to achieve the shared goals of referee development.

– Local company DDL with its Pepsi brand became official sponsors of the Golden Jaguars World Cup qualification matches against St. Vincent.

– GFF commissioned a topographic survey of the Providence Community Centre Ground.  The local company Surveying & Project Management Inc conducted the survey.

– Golden Jaguars drew 2-2 with St. Vincent in the away WCQ match in St. Vincent. Four of Guyana’s overseas-based players did not play in the match because they did not meet the passport eligibility requirement.

– Draft GFF Referees Code of Ethics document circulated among Referees Committee members.

Danns Goal

Golden Jaguars celebrating after Neil Danns (first from right) scored from the penalty spot against St Vincent and the Grenadines.

– Golden Jaguars drew 4-4 with St. Vincent in the home WCQ match in Guyana.

-GFF launched protest to FIFA concerning ineligibility of St. Vincent player. The player played the match without having a St. Vincent passport.

– On June 19, the GFF held a discussion session on the draft new GFF constitution with members. One week later, another discussion session on the constitution was held. This time FIFA Head of Member Associations Mr. Primo Corvaro was present and guided the discussions.

– National U-23 team visited the national Director of Sport Mr. Christopher Jones at the National Sports Commission on June 19.

– Admiral submitted new designs for the Women’s National Teams’ Kit.

Gff Congress MAs

delegates and other officials at the conclusion of the GFF Congress

– Members of the GFF unanimously adopted a new Constitution for the GFF at the Extraordinary Congress held on June 26.

– At the same Congress, the members lifted the ban on the former executive committee of the UDFA, including Sharma Solomon, Collie Hercules, Terrence Mitchell, Wayne Bethune, Rawle Johnson, Jefftey Trotman, Ansawatt Barrett, Patrick Day and Clyde Brusche.

Daniel Wilson

Daniel Wilson – National U-23 Captain

– Guyana U-23 team played three CFU Olympic Qualification matches in Antigua On June 24 against Cuba (lost 2-0); June 26 against Antigua (lost 2-0) and June 29 against Aruba (won 5-0).

– GFF conducted a FIFA Transfer Matching Training Workshop with Elite League Teams on June 27

– Competitions Committee began design of By-Lawys for Elite League

– GFF began drafting regulations to govern the operations and procedures of the Federation





Lady Jags training camp in Canada

– Senior Women’s team ‘Lady Jags’ began Olympic Qualifier preparations with a training camp in Canada under the tutelage of Technical Director Bolton and Head Coach Rodrigues.

-Received Footballs from US Soccer


 – The GFF donated over 100 footballs to the Ministry of Indigenous People’s Affairs, to be distributed among the villages in the hinterland region, in an attempt to aid their preparation and participation at the upcoming Hinterland Games.

GFF footballs donation

Officials from the GFF made a presentation of 100 footballs to the Ministry of the Indigenous People’s Affair.

Sheron Abrams

Sheron Abrams

– Chairman of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Normalisation Committee (NC) Clinton Urling and Vice-President of the Women’s Football Association Sheron Abrams attended the 6th FIFA Women’s Football Symposium in Vancouver, Canada. The symposium was held during the period Friday July 3 to Sunday July 5 and saw participation from all 209 FIFA member associations.

– GFF’s Technical Director Claude Bolton, along with Minister within the Ministry of Indigenous Affairs, the Honourable Mrs. Valerie Garrido-Lowe, journeyed to the hinterland regions where they visited regions 7, 8 and 9 to conduct a needs assessment and design a football programme for the Ministry and the Federation.

– NC member Karen Pilgrim started process of designing a template of the Statutes for the members of the GFF. It was agreed that an attorney would be employed to assist the NC to finalize the constitutions of all 22 members. Ms. Natasha Vieira was selected as the Attorney to conduct the process.

– On July 11 to 12, members of the GFF Technical Department Mr.Lyndon France and Mr. Lawrence Griffith visited the Rupununi Football Association,

– Referees Committee and the Guyana Football Referees Council held a meeting on 13th July 2015. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss logistics and areas of collaboration based on the MOU signed previously. The two groups agreed to meet once every quarter but shall communicate when the need arises to keep each other informed of the progress of work related to the Referees of the Federation.

-The Women’s national team (Lady Jags) held a training camp during the period July 18 – 26, in Guyana in preparation for their Olympic qualifiers. According to Head Coach Mark Rodrigues “the focus of the camp will primarily be to get players to gel as a unit. The camp will primarily comprise of tactical and functional sessions, and with that some fitness will be addressed”


Lady Jags upon completion of their camp in Guyana.

-GFF held a Press Conference  (PC) on July 21 led by Chairman Urling.  The purpose of the Press Conference was to introduce the ‘Lady Jags’ team and to address any other football related issues.

Bank football

Scotiabank’s Jennifer Cipriani makes a presentation to Lady Jags captain Ashley Rodrigues

-On July 21, Scotia Bank Guyana announced its GFF Partnership for the Women’s programme  and made a donation of GYD$500,000.

-The Senior National Women’s Football Team (Lady Jags) paid a courtesy call on Director of Sports Christopher Jones at his office.

– GFF Agreed to partner with Help and Shelter to address the issue of domestic violence. The partnership will commence in August with sensitisation sessions with the GFF national teams.

– On July 25 GFF held another training session on the FIFA International Transfer Matching System.

– Invitation for Tender sent out for the Management of the GFF Elite League.

– Admiral Sportswear representative Andrew Persaud met with several stakeholders in Guyana including the Normalisation committee, Elite league management and Referees Council.

– GFF received several donations for the lady jags programme from private individuals.


Technical Director Claude Bolton assessing Fruta Conquerors Head Coach Calvin Alleyne during his D License Course

-GFF held an Elite League Coaches National D License Course during the period July 28 to August 01.

– On July 29, Final ‘Lady Jags’ squad announced for the CFU Group Four Olympic Qualifier in the Dominican Republic

– FIFA’s Disciplinary Committee ruled, “After careful examination of all the requested information and documentation, it was considered that no further intervention was necessary in such context”.

The GFF is indicated that it will seek legal advice on whether to appeal the ruling to the FIFA Appeals Committee.

– NC Chairman Urling and Technical Director Bolton appeared on the television programme “NCN Sports Magazine” on Wed. July 29 from 21:00hr-22:00hr. The moderator asked several questions of football development in Guyana and then the telephone lines were open for live discussions with members of the public

– From July 28 to August 2, FIFA Instructors/Assessors Stanley Lancaster, Abdullah Hamid and Trevor Beckles participated in the FIFA Futuro 111 Course that was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica for officials in the CONCACAF Region.


Guyanese at the IFA Futuro 111 Course

The purpose of the Course was to update FIFA on the progress and developments made by its Referees within the CONCACAF region and for FIFA to share the amended laws of the game as well as to plan the way forward, for refereeing in the region, with an eye for expanding the pool of referees in the regions.

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