Sports

Sports Ministry at war with SLFA

12 July 2007 at 06:08 | 984 views

By Sorie Sudan Sesay, Freetown.

The six-week ultimatum slammed against the Nahim
Khadi-led executive of the Sierra Leone Football
Association (SLFA), by the Ministry of Youth and
Sports to convey the annual 2007 Annual Congress of
members in order to address important issues regarding
the running of football in the country, expires next
Tuesday.

The ultimatum came following recent allegations of
corruption and financial misappropriation against
Khadi’s executive both nationally and internationally
which, according to a letter from the Director of
Sports dated 8th June, 2007, demanded immediate
answers, but according to Khadi speaking on Radio
UNAMSIL, nobody was going to force him into an
extra-ordinary Congress and that he will do that at
the appropriate time.

“How will you react should Nahim fail to convene the
Congress on your given date?” Patriotic Vanguard
questioned the Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr.
Dennis Bright, whose response was, “let’s wait for the
ultimatum to expire, for now they’ve not communicated
anything to us yet. I am going to be very drastic
about that.”

With Nahim insisting that nobody is going to force him
convene the Congress and the Minister promising drastic
measures, it is very likely that
the controversy will attract the intervention of the
football world governing body, FIFA.

The letter states that the ministry wants to know the
mandate of the FA and its statutory organs. This is as
a result of accusations against Khadi that he was
running the affairs of football in his own way without
the consent and knowledge of either the other
executive members and the ministry of sports.

The letter recalled that the sports ministry
had requested details of a said controversial
contractual agreement with a London-based club Leyton
Orient which the FA failed to do and instead, went
ahead to honour the fixtures and secured the services
of Leroy Rosenior,a London based professional football coach for the team without seeking government
clearance.

Another issue the ministry was seeking clarification for
was the contractual agreement between the FA and
mobile giants AFRICEL Ltd. to undertake the funding
of the match against Togo at home without reference
to the ministry or any information regarding the terms
and conditions of such contract/agreement which
included the publicity, printing and marketing of
entrance tickets, raffles, etc.

Thirdly, according to the letter, a United Kingdom
based Telecommunications Company, MEDIATEL (SL) was
engaged by the SLFA for, “ various reasons including
the promotion of the National Football Team, Leone
Stars, and its players locally and overseas”.

The ministry believes as partners in the promotion and
development of the Leone Stars and considering the
financial and other logistical support government is
providing for matches involving the national football
teams, and above all in the public interest, it is
imperative that the SLFA should be accountable to them
in this regard.

The letter also states that this correspondence was
done in conformity with the provisions of Article 8
(1) of the National Sports Council of Sierra Leone
Act. No 64 of 1964 which, inter alia, states under
Part II Powers and procedures of the council that “the
Council may, in accordance with the provision of this
Act, do all such things as it may consider necessary
and expedient for the promotion, encouragement,
development or control of sports in Sierra Leone...”

The ministry therefore urged the FA to take
appropriate action accordingly without delay, bearing
in mind that Government has a mandatory responsibility
for the development and control of sports in Sierra
Leone, according to the letter.

And at the moment, Khadi is at loggerheads with both
some executive members including the association’s
Secretary General, Alimu Bah, whom he accused of
undermining his affairs, and some of the national
players.

Just recently, Nahim Khadi came under serious
criticism from the national team, Leone Stars’
captain, Mohamed Kallon, who threatened on his
FM radio station, Radio Kalleone that they
(foreign-based players) were going to boycott all
international matches under the Nahim led executive,
citing bad administration and corruption on the part
of the executive which he said is threatening the
smooth operation of football in the country.

Kallon’s criticisms was followed three days later by a
physical confrontation between Nahim’s boys and team
defender, Mustapha Pa-Saffa Sama, at the Murray Town
residence of the FA chairman, when the player went to
demand the reimbursement of his ticket fares from
Vietnam where he plays club football to Freetown.

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