Exclusive: IAAF breaks silence over SLAA tussle

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Palo Conteh….fails to get IAAF endorsement as SLAA prexy

December 1, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr.

The international Athletics Federation (IAAF) has finally broken their silence over the ongoing wrangling within the Sierra Leone Athletics Association (SLAA).

In a letter dated 1 December, 2015 addressed to SLAA Secretary General Dauda Sundufu Sowa, Director in the Office of the IAAF President, Nick Davies effective voided the recent election of Retired Major Palo Conteh as head of SLAA, albeit calling for elections organised by the current executive before 30 December, 2015.

This much anticipated decision by the world athletics governing body has given an initial victory to the outgoing executive headed by Abdul Karim Sesay, who did not participate in the election of the Palo Conteh led executive.

Below is the full version of the letter from the IAAF: “This is to acknowledge recipient of your email with regards to the SLAA extra ordinary assembly held on November 20 2015. At the onset I would like to underline that there has always been problems with the SLAA as far as the elective general assembly is concern.

“Back in 2011 the former Director of the IAAF President office came to Sierra Leone to ascertain that elective general assembly was properly conducted with the genuine stakeholder taking part. This has led to the election of Abdul Karim Sesay as president and yourself as the General Secretary.

“You may wish to note that the IAAF keep close monitoring of the elective general assembly of our member federations and in fact we have written to the SLAA on the 11th March 2015 reminding you all that the mandate of the current board was going to expire on 3rd April 2015 but the elective general assembly had been scheduled on 30th December 2015.

“The response we got was that due to the Ebola crisis, the public health emergency act, meetings were not allowed. On 19th June 2015, SLAA informed the IAAF that there will be an extraordinary general assembly on the 31st July and the 1 August 2015 and the elective general assembly on the 5th September 2015.

“On 10th September 2015, the IAAF requested information from the SLAA about the out coming of the elective general assembly held on the 5 September 2015. The response we received that the elective general assembly was postponed to 11th November 2015 and there were a lot of interference around the organisation of the assembly since the defence minister has declared his intention to stand for president and there was an intimidation campaign going.

“On 13th November, we received an email from your president informing us that the ministry of sports and national sports council had issued a press release to call of indefinitely the elective general assembly that was schedule on 11th November 2015.

“Sundufu Sowa, been the general secretary of the federation, you were well aware of the decision and party to all decision and now you are forwarding us the minutes of an extra-ordinary meeting held on 20 November 2015 by a so-called ‘Legitimate Stakeholders of SLAA’ whereby the deputy minister of sports was present despite the fact that there was an official press release from the ministry of sports and the national sports council that they have called of the elective general assembly that was schedule on 11th November 2015.”


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