What a rancour in our sports fraternity

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

So much rancour has been noticed within the sports fraternity in The Gambia in recent days, particularly between the National Sports Council (NSC) and Gambia Football Federation (GFF)

After suspending the GFF president and co-opted executive members on allegations of financial fraud, constitutional violation on regional elective congresses, match fixing and “allegations against the government of The Gambia”, the National Sports Council has decided to launch an investigation into the affairs of the GFF, but the latter has in turn made it categorically clear that they would not succumb to any investigation by the NSC.

The bad blood has run so deep in their veins that both have put out strongly worded press releases establishing their firm intent to hold on to their stance or position in the matter. What a scenario in our sporting fraternity!

“Our position is based on the fact that the National Sports Council lacks the legitimacy to investigate our internal matters and thus we will not subject ourselves to an illegal process. We have nothing to hide because we have always met all our obligations including governance and all our accounts, audits and reports are intact,” GFF’s latest release stated.

But the NSC is quoting the fact that the council is “an arm of government established by the Constitution of the Republic of The Gambia in 2000 as regulatory body for sports among other functions” and by article 18 (1) (C) and D) they have “all the legal mandate to investigate GFF” and any association not working in line with its own constitution as well as lack of compliance on matters or otherwise.

However, the latest development sounds interesting to see reports revealing that the NSC investigation team is disintegrating as key members of the investigation panel have stepped aside or abandoned their participation in the investigation process the NSC has engaged in.

This queer development has taken place after the police had also written to the council declining an offer to nominate a member into the investigation team. The police in its letter warned they did not want to be part of the entire process, according to reports.

We are therefore calling on all who are concerned to tread in this matter cautiously and responsibly as we do not want a repeat of a situation that messed up our footballing efforts some five years or so ago and placed us under the authority of a Normalisation Committee recommended by FIFA. Similar rancour is ongoing in our sister West African country Sierra Leone, where the president and secretary general of the football association SLFA, have been suspended from the FA and taken to court for allegedly misusing or embezzling hundreds of millions of Leones (thousands of dollars) said to be SLFA funds. Although the world body FIFA has said it still recognises the suspended SLFA senior official Isha Johansen as the president of the FA and can work only with her but no one else for now.

We in The Gambia should not allow things to degenerate to that level of washing our dirty linen in public. Let us suppress the acrimony and rancour taking place at the epicenter of our sport in this country. Let us tread cautiously and responsibly while we are trying to unmake and make for the good of sport in this country. It is said a word for the wise is quite sufficient; so we will rest our advice here for the time being and watch as things unfold in the parlour of our sports organs.

“Understanding is a two-way street.”

Eleanor Roosevelt