To Investigate Alleged Match Fixing… FIFA Dele In Town

 

By Aruna Rashid Toma Bangura                                            

A four-man investigation delegation from the world’s football governing body (FIFA) is reportedly in town to probe into allegations of match-fixing in the Sierra Leonean Football Association.

The team’s visit was reportedly delayed due to disruptions by certain rogue elements in the Association who were hell bent on thwarting the investigations.

The match-fixing inquiry is expected to look into the World Cup qualifier between Sierra Leone and South Africa in 2008 that ended in a goalless draw.

Since 2014, eleven officials and four players have been suspended by Sierra Leone FA pending investigation with all having denied wrongdoing.

According to report, the delegation which is chaired by a renowned Lawyer, Jean Samuel Leaba include Messrs Michael Emde, Peter Limacher and a former detective, Paul Scotney who has extensive experience of investigating corruption in sports.

“FIFA has established and independent investigation Committee to conduct an inquiry into allegations of match-fixing within football in Sierra Leone in general and, in particular match-fixing within the Sierra Leone FA,” stated  a FIFA statement signed by the Association’s Secretary General, Fatma Samoura. The duties of the independent committee are to investigate the allegations and provide a comprehensive report to FIFA in order to allow for an informed judgement on the matter.

It could be recalled that the current SLFA Executive has long pushed for an investigation in the said match-fixing and other allegations including human trafficking and violations of FIFA rules and regulations.

The embattled SLFA President, Isha Johansen’s determination to clean up the country’s Football has been met with stiff resistance from certain quarters who are determined to squash the investigations that might see some top stakeholders in Sierra Leone Football facing severe penalties.

This appalling situation has led to a boycott of the national league as some teams were reportedly convinced not to play under the current SLFA executive. Several attempts have also been made to replace the current executive but all were deemed to be in contravention of either SLFA or FIFA statues.

FIFA will consider lifting its suspension on Sierra Leone from international football after the corruption case against the country’s FA President, Isha Johansen and Secretary Genera Chris Kamara is concluded in court.

The Africa Cup of Nations qualifier between Sierra Leone and Ghana, which was slated for 11th and 14th October, it could be recalled, where cancelled and will according to report, it is likely that it will not be rescheduled because of the suspension which will, except otherwise, eventually disqualify Sierra Leone from taking part in the Africa Nations Cup.

Meanwhile, football fans in Sierra Leone have placed the blame squarely on individuals who are undermining football in the country for their self aggrandizements.