In response to recent inaccurate and accusatory media coverage relating to the Women’s competition for the Ladies Inter-Insular Football Trophy, the Guernsey Football Association is again clarifying the facts regarding the current position and what has transpired since 2015.
- The rules regarding eligibility for the Women’s competition are set by the Inter-insular Committee, not the Guernsey FA.
- In accordance with the rules as set by the Inter-Insular Committee, the Guernsey FA does not have enough players to form a team to represent the Association.
- The players registered and playing for Ormer Ladies are fully aware of the eligibility rules.
- The eligibility rules for the Men’s and Women’s competitions are consistent.
Based on the above facts, the Guernsey Football Association categorically refutes that the organisation has discriminated in any way in relation to the Women’s inter-insular competition.
Guernsey Football Association Chief Executive Officer, Gary Roberts commented that:
“It is disappointing that once again, some sections of the local media have sought to sensationalise the position regarding the Women’s inter-insular competition, and particularly promoted the entirely incorrect accusation of ‘sexual discrimination’ by the GFA. The promotion of this baseless accusation raises questions about the integrity and intentions of those journalists involved and I would reasonably expect any professional journalist to ensure they have the full facts before taking such action.
To re-iterate, the GFA does not write the rules regarding eligibility for the Women’s, or any other, inter-insular competition. These are set by the Inter-Insular Committee. It is important to also note that the eligibility rule has repeatedly been made clear to those players and officials involved with Ormer Ladies, and to illustrate this fact the GFA has detailed the timeline and outcome of decisions and meetings since 2015 that have a direct bearing on the current position. Those players and officials have therefore made informed decisions and made clear to the GFA that representing the Association would be on their terms, which is not something the GFA could accept and that position would be the same whether the players were male or female.
The GFA has been, and remains, fully committed and supportive towards growing female participation in Guernsey. This is clearly evidenced in the extensive female participation delivery programme led by the GFA staff, which includes the appointment of the GFA’s first female football development officer with specific responsibility for increasing female participation. In 2015, the GFA recognised that a long-term strategy was required to grow and develop the female game and has therefore focussed significant resource into delivering participation opportunities for primary and secondary school aged girls. So far this season the delivery programme has included 249 hours of sessions and involved 402 girls participating. How that can be construed as ‘sexual discrimination’ is beyond comprehension and quite clearly the facts contradict such statements. As such, this raises questions about the motives of those that would make such accusations and those that subsequently promote them.
The GFA will continue to focus attention on delivering the Goal21 strategy, which will see the re-introduction of a senior women’s team in time for the 2021 Island Games in Guernsey. As part of that strategy, the GFA will continue to also work with the Jersey FA in returning the Women’s competition to the inter-insular programme. This partnership is illustrated by the upcoming matches between the GFA Girls Academy and Jersey FA Centre of Excellence, which have become annual events as the GFA seeks to build a sustainable and aspirational game for women and girls.”
October 2015 – GFA introduces a Women & Girls Task Group to support the introduction of a long-term development strategy.
December 2015 – first meeting of Women & Girls Task Group and included on the agenda was the first proposal to develop a single club model to address declining participation with the following stated:
‘We believe the long-term interests of women’s football would be best served by the development of a ‘Club Guernsey’ model, bringing all players from minis to seniors under a single GFA-managed structure with a defined pathway from junior to senior football.
January 2016 – Senior female players offered the opportunity to input into the plans being developed for a single club structure
February 2016 – GFA Board approved a decision to formally establish and register Guernsey Ladies FC (GLFC) as the single club entity being proposed in the long-term development strategy.
March 2016 – officials from local clubs running senior female teams invited to a meeting with GFA Board to discuss the proposal for a single team structure that would replace the existing four team league, which had effectively collapsed due to a lack of players.
March 2016 – GFA Board begins discussions with Jersey FA and Jersey Combination officials with regard GLFC entering into an existing or new Jersey based competition for the 2016/17 season. The discussions were positive and an outline plan developed.
March 2016 – the GFA received an email from 6 individuals advising of a new senior female team being established, which eventually was confirmed as being Ormer Ladies.
March 2016 – GFA Board met with player representatives of Ormer Ladies who at that time expressed that they have no faith in the GFA Board and did not approve of the GFA’s Representative coaches
March 2016 – Jersey Combination confirms that there is support from within Jersey football for GLFC to be included within a Jersey based competition for the 2016/17 season.
May 2016 –after the Muratti, the GFA and JFA Presidents confirm that GLFC has been accepted into a Jersey based competition starting August/September.
May/June 2016 – it is publicly announced via the media that Ormer Ladies had been formed as an additional team within Ormer FC.
June 2016 – GFA agrees that players can register for both GLFC and Ormer Ladies and this is communicated to all senior players.
July 2016 – Confirmation that the players registered to Ormer Ladies have no intention of signing for GLFC and do not want any involvement with the GFA.
September 2016 – GFA representatives meet with player representatives from Ormer and the matter of Muratti eligibility is discussed and clarification given regarding the Inter-insular rules
December 2016 – the GFA Board discusses the viability of playing the Muratti and the initial decision is taken to inform the JFA that at the time it was considered unlikely the GFA would be able to field a team due to the number of appropriately registered players.
January 2017 – GFA Board agreed to meet with Ormer players /Directors to determine whether there was any options available to have enough players eligible for selection. Those Ormer Ladies players again reiterated that they did not want any relationship with the GFA, did not trust the Board and did not respect the appointed Representative coaches.
January 2017 – the GFA Board then met with a different group of Ormer players to see if there was any different opinions than those of the player/Directors. The GFA outlined the opportunity to dual-register for Ormer and GLFC and again reiterated the Muratti eligibility criteria. The players in attendance again confirmed they were aware that they were ineligible for selection.
February 2017 – discussions held with the JFA regarding the interpretation of the eligibility rule and the reference to ‘playing’ for a GFA/JFA affiliated club. It was agreed by both Association’s that ‘playing’ was intended to refer to competitive matches in formal structured league/cup competitions and not just training/friendly matches. This position was ratified by the Inter-Insular Committee, which is the body overseeing the rules of the inter-insular competitions.
November 2017 – Ormer Guernsey LBG affiliates to the GFA
April 2018 – GFA receives communication from Ormer Guernsey LBG regarding entering a Jersey based competition, which the GFA subsequently confirms it would not oppose or object against.