January 23, 2015 By Sahr Morris Jr
The Sierra Leone National Sports Council (NSC) and the Sports Ministry have reacted to FIFA’s threat of banning the country from all FIFA and CAF competitions.
FIFA replied to an earlier letter written by the Director of Sports, Saidu B. Mansaray informing them that the NSC and the Sports Ministry duly recognised the Alhaji Unisa Alim ‘Awoko’ Sesay interim executive. And in reply, FIFA stated that their position was clear in what they described as interference in violation of Articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes.
The FIFA correspondence reads: “We must stress that should the authorities not consider our position and persist in recognizing the outcomes of the so-called Congress of 20 December 2014, it will be considered as interference in violation of Articles 13 and 17 of the FIFA Statutes, which request the member association to manage their internal affairs independently and with no influence from third parties. We will then have no choice but to refer the case to the appropriate FIFA organs for a suspension of the SLFA.”
However, the Director of Sports in his recent reply dated January 20, 2015, stated that their letter was not intended to interfere in the SLFA/football stakeholders matter but to inform FIFA on developments in the country and to invite them (FIFA) to verify the situation.
Director Mansaray’s letter reads: “This is not the case of the election of a new SLFA executive body. The members of the association are dissatisfied with the conduct of the present executive because five out of the nine members are no longer part of the executive body, and not in conformity with the wishes of the SLFA members.
“The resolution is therefore the collective decision of the SLFA members and the interim body is set up to run the affairs of the Association until May, 2015 when it is expected that the Ebola problem would have been over, and a Congress can be held.
“This is contrary to the plan of the SLFA Secretariat to hold the Congress on the 29th – 30th January 2015, which we are sure cannot be approved by Government. Therefore our duty as the body responsible for the control of sports in Sierra Leone, according to the National Sports Council Act, 1964, is to ensure that the Constitution of SLFA is duly adhered to and appropriate measures taken to ensure the smooth running of football in Sierra Leone.
“We, therefore, maintain our position on the matter which by no means had anything to do with FIFA, or its Statutes, which we are very much aware of. If appropriate FIFA organs decided to suspend the SLFA we could have played our part in the matter and would continue to play our role in the development of football in Sierra Leone.”