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FIFA officials conclude Gambia visit, explain future plans

Jul 9, 2012, 1:32 PM | Article By: Cherno Omar Bobb

Head of Fifa Football Associations Primo Carvalo and Fifa senior administrator Prosper Abega on Thursday concluded a two-day visit to The Gambia during when they spoke about plans for Gambian football and the way forward.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday at the FIFA Gold Project in Yundum, Primo Carvalo said their visit to The Gambia was to review the draft GFA constitution, since there was a nornalisation committee set up by Fifa in March.

There was a road map given to this committee to implement the adoption of the new constitution as well as organise an election according to the constitution, he said, adding that they have working sessions with the nornalisation committee regarding the constitution in Zurich and had agreed with the committee to observe the two-day visit to The Gambia to discuss with some key stakeholders about the constitution.

“The discussion was successful but it would be cleared only when this new constitution is adopted,” Mr Carvalo said, though noted that there would be big changes.

For example, he said, presently 240 delegates have voting rights but with the new constitution they have reduced the number to 53 delegates.

They have effected some changes in the way competitions are organised, the Fifa official said, adding that they are also proposing to work with regional associations, since with seven regions in The Gambia they will be able to establish seven regional associations to be in charge of organising amateur football.

“From the amateur football, you will have teams going to the second and first divisions,” he said, adding that the impressions were very positive from the normalisation committee, since they found the committee to be open, ready to learn and be guided.

“They were really keen on listening to us to try to implement the guidelines in the Gambian reality,” Mr Carvalo remarked, adding that they were very satisfied over the “good discussions and debates”.

“Now the big challenge is, the new constitution has to be adopted to current delegates - meaning 120 delegates and you might be thinking why would I vote for a constitution that will keep me out of the General Assembly,” he observed, describing it as the biggest challenge, but said he is sure if the principle of the new constitution is well explained the majority will be small amateur clubs, who are not playing on a regular basis.

“In the future we will still have a say but nobody will be the mejority,”  he said, adding that with the first division, second division, amateur, women, referees and coaches - it  will be a well balanced general assembly.

He also said that initially they had some suspecion there was direct interferance from the authorities (the government) in the affairs of the GFA but they had seen the resignation letter of the previous board. “So, first and foremost, the condition was met,” Mr Carvalo said, describing the resignation as free.

Soon after the setup of the normalisation committee, the committee went to Zurich to discuss with them (Fifa), he said, adding: “Of course now I think The Gambia is lucky.”

In conclusion, he said he was pleased on a personal note to discover The Gambia - the smiling coast of West Africa. “I wish you all the best for Gambia football and football in general because football is my main concern,” he said.