Monday, May 26, 2014

Sports Council will respect sovereignty of GFF

Frankly, this has become more than a national embarrassment.  The firing, jailing, releasing, firing again, reinstating of duly elected members of the Gambia Football Federation (GFF) is not only a mockery of Gambian football but it has become an international embarrassment, and Minister of Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh an albatross around the neck of not only Gambian football but an unpopular regime that continued to interfere in football, and other sport as well.

In a newspaper interview, Mr. Omar Sey, Chairman of the now dissolved GFF Normalization Committee that we have been critical of, has made it clear that his committee did what was thought to have smoothened the pathway to sanity by ushering in a new Constitution.  According to the former Foerign Minister in the Jawara administration and former CAF and FIFA Executive, "structures were laid, and if those structures were followed then football will develop."  Mr. Sey also reminded Gambians that a free and fair elections were conducted which yielded the current Executive members of GFF.

Mr. Titao Mendy, Executive Director of the Gambia Sports Council announced over the weekend the lifting of the suspension of four senior officials of the GFF, namely Mustapha Kebbeh, Buba "Star" Janneh, Kebba Touray and Basirou Barjo.  The Sports Council is silent on the seven others jailed, together with the four, and then released last week.  We hope they will also be reinstated.

The Sports Council, in explaining the rationale for lifting the suspension, said they've reached the decision so as to ensure that the "pride we are about to lose as a nation is restored."  We ask what pride?  There's none left.  Minister Alieu Jammeh and his government-dominated National Sports Council have brought nothing but shame and disgrace to Gambian football by their continued insistence on interfering in the administration of the sport.  To them football is politics as usual even if it reduces The Gambia to a midget in the eyes of the wider footballing community.

As part of the agreement reached with the Gambia Football Federation, the National Sports Council (read the regime of Yaya Jammeh) has agreed to recognize the sovereignty and independence of the Football Federation.  We hope the same plead is made to the Gambia National Olympic Committee and all other similar sports organs because their respective Charters share the same principle of sovereignty and independence from government.  CAF has suspended Gambia and FIFA is threatening suspension.  Soon, it will be the International Olympic Committee if the regime fails to get its act in order.  

We hope the CAF suspension will not be reversed given the flagrant and persistent violations of CAF and FIFA laws by the Gambia Football Federation.  It is time for the GFF to look inward, instill discipline in players by demonstrating discipline as administrators and leaders of the game of football.  Cheating is not what you want to continue teaching youngsters.