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Sierra Leone football rocked by internal power wrangling

From BBc Sport
Madam Isha Johansen
Madam Isha Johansen

Sierra Leone football is reportedly being rocked by internal power wrangling.

The situation follows a decision taken by the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) to dissolve the Association’s Executive Committee, led by Isha Johansen (pictured.)
A nine-man interim body has, however, been set up to run the affairs of the association with immediate effect until elections are held in June 2015.

The BBC says the nine-man interim body is headed by a veteran football administrator, Alhaji Unisa Alim Sesay, owner of a Sierra Leonean premier league club.

The decision was among nine resolutions agreed on by the majority of SLFA members, including 12 out of 14 premier league clubs at an unusual extraordinary congress held recently.

It took place via a telephone conference as members were not given permission by the Sierra Leone police to assemble, due to the imposition of the current state of emergency laws to stop the spread of the Ebola virus.

But the Johansen-led Executive Committee does not recognize the decisions taken by the SLFA members, describing the extraordinary congress of being illegal, the BBC also said.

It said World football's governing body, FIFA, is yet to react to the latest development, but had previously warned it would frown at any decision taken at the extraordinary congress, questioning the validity and authenticity of the stakeholders who convened it.

These stakeholders had already written FIFA with delegates’ signatures attached to make a case that they were genuine, and they remain adamant that Saturday's meeting and the decisions taken do stand.

In a statement, the SLFA said: "The Association’s Executive Committee, presided over by Madam Isha Johansen, and elected 3rd August 2013, is hereby dissolved and a nine-man interim body has been set up to run the affairs of the Association for a period of six months until election is held."

"This issue is wholly internal and as such, third party interference will not be entertained or appreciated."
"The development has been communicated to all relevant bodies, including FIFA, CAF, WAFU, and the national sports council."

The decision comes a day after Johansen tightened up security at SLFA headquarters after claiming intelligence had been received, suggesting that people were planning to invade the secretariat.

The BBC further noted that the dispute started when the Johansen-led Executive Committee failed to convene congress between April and June as required by the SLFA Constitution which states an annual congress must be held in the second quarter of every year.

The Executive Committee postponed Congress to be held 29 and 30 January, 2015 and subsequently suspended all football related activities in the country due to the outbreak of Ebola.

The Executive Committee took the action allegedly to the disapproval of the majority SLFA Members.

Taking advantage of article 28 of its constitution, the SLFA requested the Executive Committee to hold an
extraordinary congress, but their request was not granted and the Committee rather organized the meeting on its own.

The BBC also said during Saturday's Congress, the SLFA Members also decided to lift the suspensions placed on all players and officials  accused of match-fixing five months ago.

"The purported suspension by the Isha Johansen-led Executive Committee was a breach of the rules of natural justice and, therefore, it is hereby rescinded.”

"This is without prejudice to any other investigation to be conducted subsequently with regards to the same," the BBC further quoted the statement.

Johansen came to office in August 2013 in a controversial election. She went unchallenged after former Inter Milan and Monaco striker Mohamed Kallon and former Sierra Leone Premier League board chairman Rodney Michael were disqualified.


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