A new crisis is brewing between the Sierra Leone government and the world football body, FIFA.
Sierra Leone’s Sports Minister Ahmed Khanou is leading the charge after publicly lambasting FIFA’s Secretary-General Fatma Samoura.
The scathing attack on FIFA comes as no surprise to the majority of the football fraternity. (L-R Photo: Deputy Minister Al-Sankoh, FIFA’s Secretary-General Fatma Samoura, Minister Ahmed Khanou and SLFA boss Madam Isha Johansen)
Both sides are in disagreement over the date for the Sierra Leone FA congress which should pave the way for the election of a president.
In a buoyant response, Minister Khahou, who was answering questions from an investigative programme Monologue: Eagles Radio 91.3 stated he is devastated and disappointed with the FIFA’s Secretary-General Fatma Samoura and the entire Isha Johansen’s administration.
The Minister maintained that the SLFA’s Ordinary Congress must go on despite Fifa has agreed to postponed the SLFA Ordinary Congress, which had been scheduled for July 14th, 2017, until further notice.
“Sierra Leone is a sovereign state and should not be held to ransom, the SLFA Congress must go on,” the frustrating Minister said.
The Minister further hit out at FIFA’s “one-sided and pettiness” in decision making after the world football’s governing body in a letter according to the SLFA decided to put a hold on the SLFA’s Ordinary Congress over ‘MOU’ unmet conditions.
“I’m very devastated; I was leaving my office to pick someone up when my I got a call about the said letter from FIFA.
“I’m waiting to receive the original copy of the letter and I will take it to the president, discussed it and if given the go ahead I will write Fifa accordingly.
“I want to be honest, if I was ever devastated in my political life, this was the worst, you know why? Because one person I know from the look of it selling the country negatively, I have never administered or dictate to the Exco’s.
“What beat my imagination is Madam Fatma Samoura, the FIFA’s secretary general, who on behalf of FIFA asked the government to be mediator, she has worked for 22 years at the UN and I expected her to know better that when one party makes a claim, it must be cross-checked and hear the other side, she has failed to do so.
“The Secretary General of FIFA didn’t do such but conclusively went ahead to take a decision that is seemingly one-sided.”
The minister repeatedly warned the present FA executive that they have failed the nation and that; the end of the road is not far from their doorsteps.
In his bizarre mood, he called on the present FA and its exco’s to vacate their positions if they have pride and allow genuine others to come and run the most loving game in the country.
“They’re talking about ethics, ethics and integrity, integrity, what about the fact they’ve held people to ransom for three years without any trials, Minister pointed out.
Deputy Minister of Sports, Ishmael Al-Sankoh Conteh, never minced his words when answering to question from this medium.
He further slammed the FIFA’s sec-gen Fatma Samoura, who misleads Sierra Leoneans that Sierra Leone will be allocated a slot to host the women’s World Cup, ‘a double standard.’
“Fatmata Samura is a double standard and clear affront to undermine the peace process in football in Sierra Leone.”
“The SLFA’s Ordinary Congress must go ahead as planned. The government has invested enormously in ending the protracted impasse in Sierra Leone Football.”
However, this is not the first time FIFA and the Sierra Leone government are having a dispute.
In 2015 the National Sports Council (NSC) at first rejected demands by FIFA to reinstate its dissolved football association, cautioning the world governing body to “respect national laws.
The NSC decision was later reversed after Fifa warning of a possible suspension.
Follow the writer @bittar32 – Contact email@example.com