Over Football dispute, FIFA sends Scribe to Sierra Leone

Nov 8, 2016 | International, National Sport News Sierra Leone | 0 comments

The Secretary-General of the world football governing body, FIFA, Fatma Samoura, (Pictured with SLFA boss Johansen) will arrive in Sierra Leone to meet with SLFA officials on 15 November, before her proposed meeting with President Koroma.

Samoura’s visit may play some part in resolving the on-going ACC investigations against the country’s football association (SLFA), the wrangling with rival members and the 2014 match-fixing allegations.

This was first communicated to the Sierra Leone Football Association in an official letter dated September 16, 2016. In the same letter, Fifa backed Isha Johansen over the use of funds.

It would be recalled that SLFA president Isha Johansen was detained and questioned for alleged mismanagement of funds received by the SLFA since February, by Sierra Leone’s Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

Few days after she was released without charge, the world football body, Fifa has said in a letter to the SLFA that there has been no ‘misuse of the funds’ it has given to the Isha Johansen’s administration.

A FIFA statement said: “Fifa has no reason to suspect there has been misuse of funds that Fifa has provided to the SLFA.”

“FIFA urges the relevant Sierra Leone authorities – in particular the Ministry of Sports and the Anti-Corruption Commission – to allow the SLFA to conduct its affairs and activities without unnecessary obstruction as no FIFA regulations have been contravened with regards to the FIFA funding.”

However, since Johansen was elected president of the SLFA unopposed on 3 August 2013, there has been on-going unrest in the running of football in the country.

On several occasions, the world body has disapproved of Johansen’s rival members and governmental interference in the running of football in Sierra Leone.

Most recently top football stakeholders are calling for Congress they said they will boycott any attempt by the football body to revive the domestic league without holding congress first.

Fifa in a recent letter sent to the FA stated: “Fifa would like to demonstrate to the government of Sierra Leone that it is fully committed to supporting the development plans and programmes for football in Sierra Leone that have been presented by SLFA President Johansen,”

“We would like to pay a courtesy visit to the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, as well as the Minister of Sports, the Commissioner of the Anti-Corruption Commission and the three-person committee currently conducting the SLFA match-fixing enquiry,” Samoura wrote.

“We kindly ask the SLFA to contact the above-mentioned authorities to arrange such a visit on behalf of Fifa.”

There is an on-going match-fixing investigation of 15 national team players and officials. The 15 are alleged to have been involved in fixing the outcome of a Nations Cup qualifier against South Africa in 2008 which ended in a goalless draw.

In 2014, the Sports Ministry and SLFA in a joint statement have said the two institutions received “credible and tangible information” on the alleged involvement of the group in match-fixing.

Follow the writer @bittar32 Contact bittar@footballsierraleone.net

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