Sierra Leone football association clears the air

Dr. Kenneth Brima: Sierra Leone Telegraph: 11 October 2018:

On Monday 8th October 2018, the Government of Sierra Leone through the Chief Minister, Professor David J. Francis and the Minister of Sports, Ibrahim Nyelenkeh convened a meeting at State House, involving the SLFA Executive and stakeholders to resolve the current impasse including the suspension of SLFA by FIFA.

The  purpose of the meeting was for Government to initiate a mediation process involving all critical stakeholders, with the view to appeal for the lifting of the FIFA suspension to facilitate Sierra Leone’s participation in the AFCON qualifiers.

During the meeting, the Chief Minister unequivocally stated that the meeting is only a mediation process and that the legal processes by Anti-corruption Commission MUST independently continue, without any interference or obstruction.

However, as part of the compromise by SLFA Executive and stakeholders, it was agreed by all parties that a letter of appeal for lifting of suspension be sent to FIFA, which should also apprise them of the mediation process initiated by the Government of Sierra Leone.

Following the letter dated 8th October 2018 from the Sierra Leone Football Association, the Government of Sierra Leone is in receipt of a response by FIFA dated 9th October 2018.

In light of that FIFA’s response, the Government of Sierra Leone wishes to state the following:

i) That the suspension of both Ms. Isha Johansen and Mr. Christopher Kamara as President and Secretary General of SLFA respectively following their indictment by the Anti-corruption Commission must be complied with in line with the Anti-Corruption Act.

ii) That the Minister of Sports will constitute a delegation to Zurich comprising all parties to engage FIFA in a bid to resolve the current impasse especially the lifting of the SLFA suspension.

All parties have agreed to be part of the delegation and a date for the visit to FIFA will be announced shortly.

Whilst it is the determination of the Government of Sierra Leone to ensure that the SLFA suspension be lifted by FIFA and the current impasse be peacefully resolved through mediation, we wish to reiterate that the legal process of the Anti-corruption Commission can neither be interfered with nor obstructed.

We wish to express our profound appreciation to the SLFA Executive and the stakeholders for their participation in the mediation process and encourage all parties to put the interest of Sierra Leone above their differences.

It can be recalled that the present impasse leading to the suspension of SLFA has been inherited by our new Government and this has demoralized a nation which has always been united by football.

We are pleased that majority of Sierra Leoneans are desirous that the Government ensures there is non-interference in the legal process of the Anti-corruption Commission, while we pursue frantic efforts to a peaceful resolution of the impasse.

About the author

Dr. Kenneth Brima is the Director of Sports of the Sierra Leone Football Association.

4 Comments

  1. Suspension or not Leone Star is a weak team. I am ashamed to be a Leone star supporter. Can you imagine how long Leone Star has not qualified for the ANC? I dont know whats wrong with our football compared with our neighbours. Guinee, Senegal, Ivory Coast, Mali, and even Burkina Faso, all these teams have good national teams. So whats the problem with Leone Stars. I need an answer. Can we change the board of SLFA or what?

    • It is obvious what is happening with the team. The lack of team preparation prior to tournaments’ kick off is a major factor as to why Leone Stars has failed to achieve anything worth celebrating; for as far as I can remember.

      Being a mere outside spectator of SLFA’s internal affairs, it is impossible for me to know what their expectations are in these tournaments, having been part recipient of them. However, based on the common perception of a participating side partaking in any event that calls for competitiveness, which is to win, it is safe to assume that SLFA wants the same thing for their side, also.

      However, the ways in which the organization has gone about their business prior to tournaments’ kick off has exhibited everything else but a determination for the team to come out victorious.

      Correct me if I am wrong, but I do not think Leone Stars has had a friendly game in the past decade. How do they expect the team to perform in these tournaments if the team is not being facilitated to indulge in friendlies prior to their kick off?

      It is absurd to think the team can achieve, even substantially by caroling lower level leagues players who lack tangible experience together. against a team like Ghana.

  2. SIERRA LEONE CAN SUE FIFA IF THEY REFUSE TO LIFT THE BAN

    I had the opportunity yesterday to discuss with a colleague who is of the opinion that the current ACC commissioner has overstepped his authority to incur the wrath of FIFA and that FIFA is right to suspend Sierra Leone.

    According to my colleague, the former government acted with tact when they refused to suspend from office the SLAFA boss and her Secretary even though they were both indicted by the ACC and were standing trial as an accused in corruption charges. I argued that undermining a law that the country (ironically, that same former government) enacted in 2008 stipulating for a suspension of persons indicted for corruption until the outcome of the trial is not tactful.

    I consider it a crime to violate the laws of the land without resorting to Parliament to rescind that law in the first place. No one should be above the law.

    As a country, we are witness to the havocs the systemic violations of our laws over the years have caused to our country economically, socially and developmentally. If we have to expunge our country from the mess we are in right now, we need first to start obeying the laws of the land even if it is very uncomfortable.

    If we do not want a law because the majority see it as unprogressive, we have to ask our Parliamentarians to change or remove the law. They have the power to do it, and it is their constitutional responsibility. However, the selective application of existing law is itself corruption.

    Be it as it is now, we cannot afford to mortgage our sovereignty to a corporation (FIFA) which itself in recent times is riddled and marred with corruption. We cannot sue FIFA to the International Court of Justice in The Hague They have no jurisdiction over such matters. So what do we do?

    In 2016, a Bangladeshi man set the precedent when he sued FIFA in a Zurich Court https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/fifa-sued-qatar-world-cup_us_57fd3405e4b00c1fb2afee91.

    FIFA Secretariat is in Switzerland. Switzerland has jurisdiction over FIFA activities and members (for example in 2015, Zurich Police searched Sepp Blatter’s office at the FIFA Secretariat when he was investigated for corruption. Blatter resigned to save the organization).

    I am not a legal luminary, but I would advise Sierra Leone authorities to engaged its legal minds to see if the country or its Football Association (SLAFA) can sue FIFA in a Swiss court to claim unfair treatment and compensation for loss if FIFA refuses to lift their ban. Let us set a precedent.

    • A beggar has no right to his masters. We begged to the west and they have the right to decide whatsoever.

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