16th December 2018
Anti-Corruption & the FIFA Imbroglio Puts Sierra Leone Football in Serious Jeopardy!
By Nick Said (20/09/18)
The Federation of International Football Association FIFA, the world football governing body, has always won political interference fights.
It therefore puts Sierra Leone football in serious jeopardy as the imbroglio between FIFA and the Sierra Leone Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), who recently raided the offices of the Sierra Leone Football Association in Freetown, continues unabated. (Photo: FIFA boss Gianni Infantino, ready to pounce on Sierra Leone).
Reports say FIFA made this threat in the aftermath of a surprise raid of the offices of the Sierra Leone FA on Tuesday 18 September 2018 by the ACC who is accusing the FA boss Isha Johansen of corruption.
The ACC, bossed by Francis Ben Kaifala, has threateningly sent a letter to the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) President Isha Johansen, telling her to step down over allegations of match-fixing involving the national football team, Leone Stars. (Photo: Beleaguered Isha Johansen).
Isha Johansen and her Secretary General Chris Kamara have been banned from the SLFA offices by ACC officials, but the remainder of the staff have been allowed to continue their work. However both have denied any wrong doing.
"Staff at the SLFA offices have been warned not to have any business with Isha Johansen and Chris Kamara and not to allow them into the secretariat in Freetown," ACC official Alhassan Kargbo told BBC Sport. "Anyone who goes against the orders will face the law," he asserted.
FIFA said earlier in the week that they were monitoring the situation in the country and are likely to view the forced removal of Isha Johansen as government interference in football affairs, especially as they are conducting their own investigation into the match-fixing allegations.
FIFA are looking at matches as far back as the World Cup qualifier against South Africa in 2008, while they are also chairing negotiations between the Sierra Leone Sports Ministry, SLFA officials and various other stakeholders over delays to football association elections. (Photo: ACC boss Francis Ben Kaifala).
The delays have been caused by a number of factors, including a resistance to integrity checks that FIFA wants carried out on those who intend to stand for positions.
Johansen, who intends to stand for re-election, was briefly detained in 2016 over alleged graft but was released without charge and also survived being ousted by the SLFA executive committee last year as FIFA refused to recognise the move.
She claims to have received numerous death threats in recent years but is determined to stand again for the post of president when elections eventually take place.
"I have been called all kinds of vulgar names and received so many death threats but I haven't entertained such abuse,” Johansen told Reuters last year.
"I want to be a pioneer for good governance, gender equality and inclusivity in football, to make a difference in a man's game."
Courtesy: Reuters Reporting by Nick Said and Hugh Lawson