‘We have no interest in SLFA’
March 12, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr.
Managing Director of Mercury International, Martin Michael, has categorically stated that his company does not have any interest in the operations of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA), nor are they interested on who its president is.
Michael’s outburst came following several rumours making the rounds that the sports betting company does have an interest in the SLFA and are supporting people to head the football association.
However, the Mercury International MD, whose half-brother Rodney Michael was controversially disqualified from running for the SLFA presidency in August 2013, said: “Mercury does not and is not supporting anyone for any position in the SLFA. We did not have any affiliation nor are we interested in who the president of SLFA is.”
He added: “As a company we will continue to contribute towards the development of sports in the country through our unchallenging corporate social responsibility, that is why our charity foundation support is not only limited to sports but other charity works.”
SLFA president, Isha Johansen, has in the past made derogatory comments against the company, and in her January 25 interview published by The Guardian newspaper in the UK, she stated that she has reservations about the Craig Bellamy Foundation (CBF) and its links with the gambling firm Mercury International, whose logo is on the CBF website.
“We are talking about an academy where the boys are under 18. Where do we draw the line of what is legally acceptable? I stand to be corrected if I have misunderstood but I am very much against minors being exposed or associated in any way whatsoever to gambling, whether through sponsorship or otherwise,” Johansen told The Guardian.
The interview sparked a huge debate on social media, leading the Mercury International MD to post: “Is she suggesting Mercury should stop its over 1 million dollars yearly sponsorship of poor school children? She conveniently forgets to say that she once asked Mercury to sponsor her Youth Tournament.
“As for Mercury, the company is used to her baseless attacks and find them amusing because no one listens to her.”