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Fifa on Gambia Football elections

Jul 4, 2013, 11:28 AM | Article By: Lamin Cham

The Point has laid hands on the Fifa letter on Gambian football elections containing the controversial eligibility clause that shook the nation over the last few days.

Signed by Fifa deputy Secretary General, Makaus Kattner, the letter indeed instructed the Normalization Committee to act as an electoral body including screening and selection of candidates in compliance with the new constitution. 

It also approved the NC’s request of an additional US$18,000 for the elections and asked for a detailed report of a total of US$38,325 Fifa sent to the NC this year alone.

The letter then went on to state the following: ‘’We remind you that among the requirements to be eligible for GFA executive committee seat, candidates should not have been convicted of felony and we anticipate that the different people who brought the GFA into the state of agony through mismanagement and greed will be prevented from contesting.”

The underlined clause has since sparked controversy with the Normalization Committee NC spokesman Omar Sey, saying the clause notwithstanding, the people who are responsible for lapses in the GFA affairs, naturally ought be punished by some sort, and that Fifa has just reminded them of the mandate it gave them at their formation in March 2012.

However supporters of Seedy Kinteh and Adama Halla Samba, who initially doubted the existence of the letter, have accused the NC of lobbying the clause to target their candidates unfairly since they have not been found guilty of any mismanagement yet.

Once The Point got the letter, we contacted seasoned football and normal law observers for interpretation of the clause and its application in the GFF context.

An observer of the football scene said that the publication of the letter is a very good move as it is of legitimate public interest and has cleared the doubt as to the existence of the communication from Fifa

“At first, I am not sure of the letter but now that it is true that is from Fifa, I think its content is clear that the NC has powers to act as electoral body, though the same Fifa emphasised in the letter that everything should be in compliance with the new constitution and the new constitution did not stipulate such eligibility criteria.

“Also how do we determine that Mr X has brought agony to the GFA through mismanagement since there is nothing in public view or knowledge that conclusively found any one guilty of greed or management. Then who does the cap fit?”

Another observer said the wording of the clause does not in any way imply that it is an order. “Rather, FIFA is expressing its wishes that it does not expect, a certain category of people to contest. That is different from categorically saying that they must not contest. But again there must be evidence that indeed there are people who mismanaged GFA funds.”

A third analyst said Fifa’s message is clear. “The NC is right to follow their recommendation since any future GFF leader must enjoy the trust and confidence of Fifa to succeed. There are people who have even angered Fifa itself by insulting them to their face.  Can they work with those ones? No.’’

For the benefit of the readership we publish the full letter below:

Dear Chairman,

We would like to congratulate you and the Normalization Committee for the adoption of a new Constitution for the Gambia Football Association GFA. By doing so, the Gambia has reached an important milestone which should pave the road for a better football future.

We understand from the recent exchanges of information that the Normalization Committee is currently implementing the new constitution at the regional level and ensuring a proper representation of the new GFA members through their delegates who will be voting at the upcoming GFA elections.

As stated in the Fifa letter of 21 March which nominated you and the other members of the Normalization Committee, you are supposed to act as well as an electoral committee whose decisions  are final and binding. As such, The Normalization Committee should therefore also be in charge of the electoral process, (opening of candidatures, screening, selection etc), in compliance with the new constitution. We remind you that among the requirements to be eligible for GFA executive committee seat, candidates should not have been convicted of felony and we anticipate that the different people who brought the GFA into the state of agony through mismanagement and greed will be prevented from  contesting.

We also take note that in order to respect the Fifa deadline of June 30th 2013, the Normalization Committee would have to suspend some provisions of the new constitution. However, we deem it important that the new constitution be implemented and we therefore agree to extend the deadline until 31 July 2013.

In this context, we take note of your request from 11 June 2013 for an additional financial support for the organisation of the electoral process. We are pleased to respond favourably to your request and we will transfer 18,325 US Dollars in the coming days in your FAP account. We expect a detail financial report on the use of the total amount of 38,325 USD including the first 20.000US Dollar send earlier this year. In addition, this sum will be subjected to the statutory audit.

Yours sincerely

 FIFA Marksu Kattener

Deputy Secretary General

CC, Caf.

More nominations for GFF elections

Meanwhile, at the close nominations last night, The Point has reliably learnt that one more nominations have been received for the July 31st GFF executive elections.

The latest name to have been filed is Modou Moussa, a respected Banker and one time treasurer of the Gambia Football Association. Mr Moussa was nominated by first division side Young Africans.

He now joins former president Seedy Kinteh, Adama Halla Samba and Mustapha Kebbeh.

The GFF secretariat would formally inform the general assembly of those duly nominated some two weeks before the elections.

Another passionate aspirant, Kebba Yorro Manneh, has not been nominated by the close of work yesterday.

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