World’s football governing body FIFA rejects Sierra Leone’s appeal for ban to be lifted

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 10 October 2018:

World’s football governing body FIFA, yesterday rejected Sierra Leone’s appeal for its ban on taking part in FIFA organised football activities to be lifted.

Responding to a letter from the government of Sierra Leone, which ironically was signed by the suspended head of Sierra Leone’s Football Association – Mrs Isha Johansen, FIFA told the government of Sierra Leone that it will only consider lifting the ban after the government of Sierra Leone has reinstated both Johansen and the SLFA Secretary General Chris Kamara.

The frantic exchange of letters yesterday between FIFA and the government of Sierra Leone, came after a meeting held at State House in Freetown, chaired by the government’s Chief Minister – Professor Francis.

According to the government, the aim of the State House meeting which was attended by Sierra Leone’s football stakeholders and Mrs Johansen, was to open up dialogue between the government and the suspended bosses of the country’s FA who are being investigated for alleged corruption by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

But many in Sierra Leone are accusing the government of witch hunt, an accusation denied by the country’s Anti-Corruption Czar who is heading the investigation into alleged corruption by Sierra Leone’s football governing bosses.

Speaking at the State House meeting, Chief Minister Francis was bellicose about the government’s response to FIFA’s decision to ban Sierra Leone from world football, accusing FIFA of meddling in the internal affairs of the country.

“Government of Sierra Leone will sponsor a high-powered delegation to FIFA, including critical stakeholders to tell FIFA that Sierra Leone is a Sovereign State and we cannot go against our laws……. If you don’t like our government please do not disgrace your country………..this nonsense will soon end……..No individual is bigger than Sierra Leone………….Let the legal process continue and we are not going to interfere…………

“Sierra Leone is sovereign state and it doesn’t bow to any international force………….FIFA is a corrupt institution. How dare you tell Sierra Leone to bow down………We are behind the ACC and no external force will take us back………Those who believe FIFA is important, be it so. The suspension is there, and we cannot succumb to FIFA,” the Chief Minister is reported to have told the State House meeting.

Then came the decision at the meeting for a letter to be written by the government and signed by the government’s suspended Mrs Isha Johansen to FIFA, asking FIFA to lift its ban.

The meeting also agreed that the Chief minister will lead a delegation comprising of the sports minister, Isha Johansen, Chris Kamara and key stakeholders, sponsored by the government to go to FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, where FIFA will be told on no uncertain terms that Sierra Leone is a Sovereign state and its laws must be followed.

FIFA’s response to the letter from the government of Sierra Leone which many believed Mrs Isha Johansen was coerced into signing, was unequivocal, giving the government of Sierra Leone just hours to reinstate Mrs Johansen and Chris Kamara before any consideration can be given to lifting the FIFA ban.

Ghana’s Black Stars are scheduled to host Sierra Leone’s football team – Leone Stars tomorrow, Thursday 11th October, at the Baba Yara Stadium in Kumasi.

Both Isha Johansen and Mr Chris Kamara  are yet to be reinstated in their posts by the government of Sierra Leone. FIFA’s decision to ban Sierra Leone from all international football activities remains in force. And the government of Sierra Leone says it will not budge. The stalemate continues.

Isha Johansen and Mr Chris Kamara are being investigated by the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission for allegations of corruption.  You can listen to the Anti-Corruption Czar – Ben Kaifala, speaking on Africa Voice of America Radio this morning:

You can read the letter sent to FIFA and the SLFA press statement below:

6 Comments

  1. @ Anthony Moiba. Is the Chief Minister right to arm-twist/coerce Isha to sign THAT letter as president of SLFA when the football-loving world, including those departed, know that Isha currently is not the president?

    Some PEOPLE are disingenuous by nature.

    • @ Jerry Browne.

      1) “The Chief Minister is right but diplomacy has to prevail” Those were my words and I stand by them. For countries like ours we have to be very diplomatic when dealing with international bodies and the Chief Minister should have taken that into consideration.

      We live in a world where the winner take it all and our voice is not strong enough even if we are right. It is going to be very interesting to watch how the FIFA is going to react to the scandal in the Belgium Football Association!!

      2) Our Sierra Leonean forums are full of the word God….. but our language to one another is very often aggressive and rough. Let’s learn to convey our opinions in a respectable manner.
      Wishing you a nice day!

  2. Chief Minister, Professor David Francis, was beating a dead horse. Isha Johansen and the APC will go down in history as the ones that destroyed football in Sierra Leone.

    Thanks Chief Minister for trying to resuscitate a dead horse. Like all other institutions in Salone, the APC ensured that they eviscerated the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA).

  3. Actually I cannot imagine what the chief minister is up to. Following the state house meeting where the chief minister threw a challenge to FIFA, yet SLAFA will supplicate for FIFA to lift the ban against Sierra Leone.,

    The chief minister’s pronouncement, however legitimate the expressions may be, they wouldn’t go down well with FIFA at all. A proof is FIFA’S swift response with which they dealt with the request to lift the ban.

    Wouldn’t it be a waste of needed resources to meet FIFA in Zurich to make a case? Their response will definitely be no again.

    Please, please, let us don’t make the issue a scandal. Let us do something else. Restructure SLAFA and revamp our football quality well, for when we can enter the world football body again. This time we would have overhauled SLAFA and the game much better.

  4. Bullies! After slamming FIFA in that farcical State House meeting and arm-twisting Isha to sign THAT letter, the so-called professor expects FIFA to open its doors and welcome the delegation. No dice Mr professor, its egg on your face! FIFA has banned countries more sovereign and of higher ranking than Sierra Leone in the past; countries like Guinea, Nigeria which came here to protect our sovereignty. Shame on you, a closet misogynist!

    • Of course the Chief Minister is right. But diplomacy has to prevail. Your language Mr. Browne is not warranted, but unfortunately this is the order of the day in Sierra Leonean palaver.

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