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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

IN HER OWN WORDS: Sierra Leone FA President before Parliament

HomeAYV NewsIN HER OWN WORDS: Sierra Leone FA President before Parliament

IN HER OWN WORDS: Sierra Leone FA President before Parliament

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Isha Johansen – “I think where the problem lies is that of duties and responsibilities. Whose duty it is to do what? Who is mandated to do what? Where the line stops…where we draw the line? Here’s what it is: we as the FA, everywhere else in the world, we are here to administer, supervise and facilitate football,that is what we do.

The ministry, the government, they fund the national teams. And when I say teams, it’s not just the first team. It’s the Under 17, it’s the Under 20, male and female football. Whatever the government allocates to the FA, we should be aware of that. And that budget should come from us, the FA. We put in a calendar of events and say this is what we need for a year or two years, if possible and we present it to the ministry of sports who in turn presents it to the ministry of finance.

We have never been able to do that. And if we prepared a budget – whatever budget that we prepared was not sent to the ministry of finance. Should there come a time like now, when we have got to explain budgetary controls, monetary, financial figures, what are we going to say? We are not aware. We didn’t make the budget. If the government says today, I gave $ US 198, 000 for a trip, SLFA you made the budget. We did not make that budget, we are not aware of that expenditure and we are not in receipt of how that expenditure was made. So for me, this is where the problem is coming from.

Secondly, there is that of administering the national team. How can the minister of sport sit down and appoint a head coach, the technical backroom staff and even to pick the players that should be there, getting to training sessions? It’s ludicrous, it’s a farce, it’s a big joke. It never happens anywhere else in the world.

We have a minister that is unable to draw the line. A minister, that because of his passion for football…and we are all passionate about football…it does not mean that he should dictate how football is run in the country, he can’t. It’s the FA’s responsibility to do that. And we will continue to do that.

The fight is all about control of the national team. So I am sorry, there is nothing personal. If he goes back saying there is match-fixing, the match fixing is another thing altogether. And I don’t know where he is coming around with the under 20 being match-fixed and if he believes that’s the case, then he will have to prove that.

There is evidence, he says I gave him a document about match-fixing in Sierra Leone, yes I did that. I did that before the elections. I did that during the time when you had the situation where, you had certain parties from the Rodney Michael side who were clearly, clearly involved in match-fixing. May be I should retract that because I can’t prove that. There are affidavits from players themselves – sworn under oath. There is a certain individual called Raj Perumal who is in prison today in Finland. He’s speaking, he’s entered into a plea bargain and Sierra Leone features highly.

But I will say that when I did that, I did that to show that there is a reason why certain individuals would like to get into this business because they are into match-fixing. And in any election, I am sure you will agree with me, everybody uses whatever trump card you have to discredit your opponent. That’s what I did.

I went to the ACC, not just as a contender but also as a concerned citizen, a football stakeholder. I went to the ACC boss. I had a very private meeting with him. I put my hand on my chest and I said, my main concern is for these boys – these young boys. I do not want to ruin their lives. I said I don’t think we should use this because of the boys. And if these things should come out, these boys are ruined for life. And he said let’s leave it at that. I took it to Paul Kamara, I said the same thing to him. I said let’s leave it at that.

Why is it only now, something that happened in 2008/2009 and 2010, possibly, not in my era, not in my executive did Mr. Paul Kamara bring it up now. Who is he going to hurt. I tell you who he is going to hurt? He is going to hurt this country.

 

Match-fixing is a zero tolerance affair now with FIFA. Nobody is going to come and indict me. In fact if anything, I behaved as a good citizen, I raised concerns. It is going to be Sierra Leone that is going to be banned, sanctioned. And for a minister to do this to his own country, publicly, I think, it is a disgrace, I honestly do. I think is unacceptable”.

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