Sports Council vows to ignore FIFA ultimatum


December 14, 2015 By SMorris Jr.

Sierra Leone National Sports Council (NSC) and Sports Ministry have reacted to an FIFA ultimatum to ban the country from all FIFA and CAF competitions by vowing to ignore the threat.

The world football governing body last weekend demanded that the Sierra Leone government rescind its decision to disband the country’s football association (SLFA) by giving them until Wednesday, 16 December to comply with the directive or risk the country being banned from all international competitions.

In what could be described as a swift response to the FIFA call, Director of Sports, Ibrahim Bangura, in an exclusive interview with Concord Sports said their decision stands and nothing would change it.

“The Ministry of Sports and the National Sports Council have a responsibility to govern sports in Sierra Leone and will stand by our decision to dissolve the SLFA,” the sports director said.  “FIFA must follow procedures and respect national laws. Our decision is final and cannot be changed or overturned by anyone outside our jurisdiction.”

In a letter addressed to the SLFA secretary general informing him about FIFA’s position regarding the NSC decision to dissolve the SLFA executive, FIFA acting scribe Markus Kattner said the dissolution of the SLFA executive committee last Thursday was deemed as government third party interference.

“The decisions of the National Sports Council appear to amount to government interference in the internal affairs of the SLFA,” acting Fifa secretary general Markus Kattner said in a letter to SLFA secretary general, Chris Kamara.

Kattner warned that unless the NSC backs down, the matter would be referred to Fifa’s Emergency Committee – a move that would almost certainly result in the suspension of the SLFA.

“We would like to underline the dire effects a suspension could have on Sierra Leone football.

It would for instance mean that no team from Sierra Leone of any sort (including clubs) could have any international sporting contact,” said Kattner.

The NSC  decision to dissolve the Isha Johansen led executive came after the latter (SLFA) dissolved a seven-man committee set up to identify delegates for the association’s next congress.

For the second time this year FIFA has issued a threat to ban Sierra Leone from all football competitons. In January the world governing body replied to an earlier letter written by the then 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. 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.