GOOD MORNING MR PRESIDENT - Sports: The Way Forward

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mr. President, your government in collaboration with the Ministry of Youth and Sports should take a look at the sports sector of the country. Sports is no longer leisure but business that can bring foreign exchange to the nation and without proper investment, there will not be good results.

Mr. President, looking at the rules of FIFA, governments should not interfere in the administration of football, especially where FIFA is financing the Football Federation of that country. It’s FIFA who should monitor their money and how it is spent not governments. With the FIFA Financial Rules, every six months GFF is expected to submit its financial and audit reports, and for the past four years, the government of The Gambia has not been spending money on the activities of the GFF.

Taking Sierra Leone for example, FIFA insisted that Isha Johansen is still Sierra Leone FA president when Sierra Leone’s Football Association (SLFA) decided to set aside Isha Johansen from her role as president and Chris Kamara as her general secretary. FIFA ruled it ‘invalid’, citing that the pairs’ dismissals were not, among other measures, carried out as required by SLFA statues. “It appears that the alleged dismissal of both persons has not been carried out in accordance with the applicable provisions of the SLFA statues in our possession,” read FIFA letter, dated 7 November.

The National Sports Council and The Gambia Football Federation should take a proper look at the FIFA rules and regulations in solving their dispute to avoid putting the country’s sports at stake. If proper measures are not taken, FIFA can suspend The Gambia for at least two years in all international competitions and can stop their financial assistance to the GFF. A national conference should be organised to trash out the problems of sports in the country and make recommendations for the way forward for the development of sports.

Mr. President, It’s the duty of the government to promote all sporting activities in the country by providing funds. Almost all the sports federations in the country are facing financial constraints because there are no enough subventions given to them and this is hampering our international competitions. Therefore, we have to understand that Witch hunting will not take Gambia anywhere. The 2018 budget is around the corner and adequate funds should be provided for the sporting activities. It’s also time that we look forward to helping the country qualify for international football competitions if not at least for the first time in Gambian history.

Mr. President, the football fraternity should pay tribute to likes of Alhagie O.B. Conateh, Late Housainou Njie, Alagie Gabbie Sosseh and others who scarified for the development of football by mortgaging their houses to the banks to get facilities before FIFA introduced subvention to the federations in 1999.

Finally, Mr. President, the laying of the foundation stone of a 20 megawatt generator in Brikama by the vice president Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang last Wednesday, and the report that the other generator in Kotu will soon be functional, are all encouraging and a sign of hope to the Gambian populace. And also with Managing Director Baba Fatajo confirming that the electricity supply will be improved at November’s end will be a blessing in disguise.

The Gambia is a touristic country and the lack of electricity and water has affected business in general.

Good day