“You Can’t Hold Football to Ransom” – President Koroma Tells Stakeholders
By State House Communications Unit
Following a meeting with football stakeholders across the country, President Ernest Bai Koroma on Wednesday 12 August, 2015 said that stakeholders cannot hold football to ransom, adding that the people are interested in the game. He made this statement during a follow up meeting at State House to settle the impasse among football authorities in Sierra Leone.
Addressing the meeting, President Koroma pointed out that as a government settling football bottlenecks does not require his personal intervention, but however noted that when things do not seem to go right especially on the issue of football, government takes the blame. As a result of this, he said, government resolved to write the world governing body – Federation International Football Association – (FIFA) to notify them about the situation and the need for their intervention to help harmonize the process. He informed the meeting that FIFA has agreed to visit Sierra Leone in the first half of September this year to specifically establish an agreeable working group that will compose of all stakeholders.
The President went on to state that it was important to form the agreeable group so that the arrival of FIFA will help to facilitate the process. He urged all to work together and promote football in the country and work towards maintaining football talents. He also said it was time for Sierra Leone to go international in both FIFA and Confederation of African Football (CAF) rankings and further expressed his dismay over the unsuccessful conduct of the football congress and failure to find an amicable solution to the existing impasse among stakeholders.
It is very clear, President Koroma furthered, that SLFA and the ministry have not been able to amend this problem, adding that government does not want to be given the opportunity to dictate but rather agree on people that would be acceptable to all stakeholders. In constituting the membership of the agreeable working group, the President admonished stakeholders to come up with a proposal and names of the members of the said group. He made it clear to all that no partisan person should be appointed to the group, and stressed that the submitted names will be thoroughly scrutinized. The names should be submitted to the Secretary to the President.
The Minister of Sport Mr Paul Kamara explained that as a ministry they should be able to solve the issue of football just like the way the ministry has been solving issues in other sporting disciplines without recourse to the President. He underscored the importance of adhering to the law referencing the National Sport Council Act which stated that it is the ministry that controls, develops and supervises the activities of football, which he said, does not necessarily mean the ministry should control the affairs of the day to day administration of the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA)
The president of SLFA Madam Isha Johansen said a committee of five to seven members will form part of the FIFA working group that will encompass everybody prior to the arrival of FIFA early September this year.