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15th August 2018

Sierra Leone Calls FIFA to Probe Fake Leone Stars and Iran Match as 15 Tagged! 

By a press release (29/03/18)

The Sierra Leone Football Association boss has called on FIFA to probe the recent fake Leone Stars and Iran friendly match played in Iran.


The SLFA boss Isha Johansen (photo) wants the Iran/Leone Stars fake game to be added to the matches already being investigated by FIFA's Match Fixing Enquiry Committee. Reports have also confirm that since 2014 eleven football officials and four international players have been suspended by the Sierra Leone FA pending investigation, with all having denied any wrongdoing. A friendly match this month between Sierra Leone and World Cup qualifier Iran could be the subject of a match fixing inquiry, according to what BBC has learned.

Sierra Leone FA (SLFA) president Isha Johansen says, the Leone Stars team that played Iran recently, was an understrength side and she disclosed that the players left Freetown without her consent and without the knowledge of the FA.

"I'd like to suggest the Match Fixing Enquiry Committee looks into how this dubious friendly was agreed upon and conducted by some corrupt SLFA officials," Johansen wrote to FIFA.

The Sierra Leone line-up on 17 March was far from representative of the full strength national side, largely composed of youngsters with just a handful of overseas based players making the trip. Johansen says she only learned about the match after the squad had left for Iran and claims that rival factions within the SLFA had organised the game instead.

It is said these individuals answered Iranian Federation (FFIRI) letters addressed to SLFA General Secretary Christopher Kamara without his approval. "I was impersonated in this arrangement," Mr. Kamara told BBC Sport in a statement. He said he did not initially see the correspondence from the Iran FA.

The FFIRI, which funded Sierra Leone's flights and accommodation, says it would have cancelled the friendly had it known of its alleged true nature. However, once the players had landed in Iran, the FFIRI felt there was little option but to play the game.

"Cancelling the match will definitely lead to immense financial loss for our federation, not to mention that all preparation plans will be disrupted ahead of the World Cup," FFIRI president Mehdi Taj wrote to Isha Johansen two days before the friendly.

The letter says Isha Johansen allowed the game to go ahead in order to preserve long-term future relations with Iran football but she has had serious reservations since her approval.

"I am gravely concerned by recent events in a letter I wrote to FIFA General Secretary Fatma Samoura. My fear is that activities may have already taken place unknowingly to me for which I may one day have to account for," aggrieved SLFA president Johansen noted.

The friendly match against Asia's top rated side was the first fixture in nine months for Sierra Leone, who are 98th in the FIFA rankings, between the Faroe Islands and India.

Iran will meet 2010 World Cup winners Spain, reigning European Champions Portugal and North African's Morocco in Group B in the Russia June 2018 World Cup.

A FIFA investigation unit is already set to look into potential match fixing involving Sierra Leone's national team dating back to 2008. The inquiry will include a World Cup qualifier between Sierra Leone and South Africa in Atteridgeville in June 2008, which ended goalless.


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