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.