It took three rounds of voting, But just after 9 o clock on a windy Georgetown night, General Secretary of the Georgetown Football Federation and Customs Broker Christopher Matthias was elected President of the Guyana Football Federation trouncing his rival Aubrey Shanghai Major 11 votes to 6.
Matthias will serve a 2 year term and his election to the Presidency of the GFF brings an official end to the reign of Colin Klass, the disgraced former GFF President who is still serving a FIFA Ban from all football related activities for his part in a bribery scandal involving former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam. Klass had served as the GFF President for over two decades.
The outcome of the elections was no surprise to many football enthusiasts who believe that while Shanghai may have been a very good candidate, his involvement with the GFF for over a decade in senior positions may have tainted his character and dwindled his chances.
He went into the race enjoying the support of the Guyana National Team Captain, Christopher Nurse and Former National Football Coach, Trinidadian Jamal Shabazz.
When the first round of voting came to an end, long-time football coach Ivan Persaud was eliminated as he only garnered 1 vote out of the 17 votes that was cast. Matthias pulled in 6 votes, Aubrey Shanghai Major pocketed 5 and Permanent Secretary in the Sports Ministry Alfred King tied major with 5 votes in that first round.
The second round of voting brought the race even closer as Matthias and Major were deadlocked on 6 votes each forcing the elimination of King with his 5 votes.
From all indications, all of King’s supporters joined the Matthias team and that paved the way for his victory. Matthias has said that he intends to bring a different style to the way football is governed in Guyana and has offered to work closer with the various associations to develop the state of the game.
Former National Football Captain Collie Hercules won the race for Vice President for 4 years while Ivan Persaud was able to score a win for the Vice President for 2 years position.