FIFA Replies SLFA *Reinstate Isha Johansen Or…


FIFA yesterday responded to the letter by the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) asking the world’s football governing body for approval of lifting the suspension it slammed on Sierra Leone last week following the suspension of SLFA President, Ms. Isha Johansen and the Secretary General, Christopher Kamara, both of whom have been indicted for alleged corruption offences by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).

It could be recalled that FIFA on 5th October, 2018 suspended SLFA from participating in all FIFA competitions, including the AFCON qualifiers between Leone Stars and Ghana Black Stars at the weekend.

Amongst other things, SLFA in its letter appealed to FIFA that “a process aimed at resolving the current impasse has commenced” between representatives of the Government of Sierra Leone and SLFA stakeholders and that “all parties engaged in the process are appealing for Sierra Leone to be allowed to participate in the upcoming AFCON qualifiers.

But FIFA in its response had this to say: “In this context, we would like to remind you that in its decision dated 5th October, 2018 to suspend the SLFA with immediate effect, the Bureau of the Council specified that the suspension will only be lifted once the SLFA and its recognised leadership (led by the SLFA President, Ms. Isha Johansen and SLFA Secretary General, Mr. Christopher Kamara) have confirmed to FIFA that the SLFA administration, premises, accounts and communication channels are under their control once again.”

Prior to FIFA’s response, the Chief Minister, Professor David Francis had remarked that “the FIFA ban slammed on Sierra Leone is unanimously described as inappropriate, unreasonable, and miscalculated action to discredit our values and laws as an independent nation.”

He maintained that “the case against Isha Johansen and others is genuine and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is a parliamentary body established under consistent rules to fight corruption and the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) is not exception.”

Prof. David Francis further emphasized: “We welcome the ban as long as discipline is instituted in SLFA.” He charged that FIFA was muted when there was no national football league for the last for years and asked the world’s football governing body to go ahead and ban Sierra Leone but its collaborators, he said, will pay heavily for this embarrassment.

As at press time, it was not known whether or not the conditions given by FIFA for the lifting of the ban would be adhered to by the Government of Sierra Leone, given the stance of the Chief Minister on the issue.