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Football Stakeholders Press Conference

Oct 2, 2012, 11:23 AM

Report Sanctioned by Stakeholders and read by Borri Darboe member of the Coordinating Committee

Good morning Mr. Chairman, distinguished sports personalities, colleagues, members of the press present, ladies and gentlemen

We are gathered here today 30th September 2012, assuming that today will be a day when congress of delegates of the GFA with the voting rights would have voted into office a new executive to steer the affairs of the Association.

However, this is not made possible due to the dissolution of the executive committee of the GFA six months ago today. The reasons we were told through the press conference and the media,

Soon after an interim committee was put in placed by the Ministry of Youth and Sports  and given the mandate to fix the situation within a six-week period.

Upon the dissolution of the executive, they were made to resign and in due course clubs were made to sign, against their will, a copy of which was sent to FIFA to justify the reasons for dissolving the GFA. We thank the Former Executive for their foresight, otherwise The Gambia would have been suspended from all FIFA and CAF competitions.

The interim committee led by the Minister travelled to Switzerland and had discussions with FIFA on the GFA saga. FIFA on receiving the interim committee rejected the term INTERIM COMMITTEE and instead implore on them to use the term NORMALISING COMMITTEE in conformity with FIFA standard statutes, and gave them a six months timeline.

Six months today, the Gambian people, and especially the football fraternity, have waited patiently in anticipation to see where their football will move from the recent comedy of errors to fruition.

We want to inform this gathering of key stakeholders that the dissolution of the GFA was not based on any tangible facts, but instead a power struggle between the Ministry of Sports and certain privileged few against the GFA. And, in fact, this power struggle first led to the sacking of the former national team coach Paul Put and now the ousted GFA Executive Committee.

Paul PUT’s efforts to develop Gambian football were undermined by the same people who made their intention known in public before his sacking. We wish to let you know that a gentleman in football a close relation to the current sports authority spearheaded the crusade to see Coach Paul PUT’s contract terminated and that the GFA Executive Committee was ousted from office.

He played a crucial role in the make up of the current complexion of the Normalization Committee due to the fact that he has been consistently vying for an executive position in the GFA on numerous occasions and, each time he tried, he was rejected by the voting delegates. Later, he declared his intentions and impressed upon this sports authority to send away from office key staff members of the GFA at the expense of our football.

We as stakeholders in Gambian football, especially the clubs and the youths of this country, have witnessed rapid successes in the evolution and development of football in the country since the year 2005 when a Peace Tournament was personally sponsored by the President, thanks to his immense contribution and that of his government.

Notwithstanding, the moral and financial  contributions made by the head of state of The Gambia, His Excellency Sheikh Prof Dr Alh Yaya A JJ Jammeh, towards the upliftment of Gambian football and, in particular, the football players, most of whose private and family lives have change overnight through His Excellencies support. These investments are so huge and cannot be ignored by a naked eye. At a time when we had anticipated for returns in investment in our football, these so called privileged few came in to hijack the good work being done collectively in our dear game of football.

Therefore, if we may ask, do we allow all the investments made by the head of state towards our dear football to be wasted by the privilege few who presumed themselves masters of our Gambian football. These people have a personal vendetta and, therefore, are doing all they could to derail the gains made by the former executive committee of the GFA, and set us backward as has been the norm in the past in the name of normalization. We believe that much has been destabilized in our football since their inception.

Mr. Omar Sey and Bakary Jammeh are the advisers of the minister on football matters at the moment.

This is exemplified by the fact that when Omar Sey resigned as the vice chairman of the Normalization Committee, he was talked into coming back as his staying away would have spelt trouble for some people.

We would also like to remind you that Mr Omar Sey had expressed his interest in becoming a presidential candidate against Seedy Kinteh in 2005 and, even confided with some clubs to nominate him, but he failed. His Campaign Manager at the time was this same Bakary Jammeh. We thank him for their wastefulness during Omar Sey’s time in office 

He has contributed in destroying our football, and now claiming to be a saint in the rebuilding efforts. He has no authority to lead us when he himself stated in one of his radio interviews that, and I quote “I was offered CAF presidency on a plate and rejected the offer”.

This signifies his disloyalty to the Gambian football fraternity and the Nation at large. His current actions and statements as vice chairman of the normalization committee contributed to creating a lot of camps in our football and so we believe it would have been the same if he were made president of CAF, especially on a plate.

In retrospect, he failed to elevate any Gambian referees to any important CAF or FIFA Standing Committees when he was a Vice Chairman of CAF Referees Committee and a member of FIFA Referees Committee.

He never wanted any good thing for Gambia, and especially the Gambian referees whom he had less regard for. For example, he denied the late Mr. Badu Jassey the right to officiate a Zone 2 football tourney and instead awarded it to a Senegalese referee.

Ever since the Normalization Committee came into office, we have witnessed a crucial overhaul of the game. The committee instead of confining its performance to the prescribed terms of reference outlined in their mandate, has moved illegally to tamper with the secretariat by appointing and suspending the staff. This matter falls within the constitutional mandate of an elected executive committee. Anything otherwise could be seen as interference or intrusion that could further encourage some legal cases against our national association. The ministry has also directly interfered by directing the appointment of the GFA staff on the advice of Omar Sey and, in fact, right now as we speak 34 staff members have been laid off, thus creating more unemployment.

Overall, the dissolution of the executive committee and the setting up of the Normalization Committee has spelt doom for Gambian football. Measures intended to justify the normalization are not appealing to us, and instead only creating problems on a daily basis.

The Number One priority for the Normalization Committee was to review the constitution in consultation with the football stakeholders and FIFA, as it was proclaimed at the dissolution of the GFA that there exists no constitution.

As we speak to you today, we take this opportunity to inform you that there exists a constitution that was ratified by FIFA and CAF waiting for stakeholders’ adoption at a Congress, which should have been done today by delegates of congress.

What we believe as the mandate of a Normalization Committee is to facilitate the transition from one committee to another. However, the Normalization Committee had inadequate consultation with stakeholders on a number of occasions, and the main issue centered on the MEMBERSHIP.

The reviewed constitution which was never sent to clubs to look at and make their observations was met with resistance when they invited the regional league clubs to validate something they have never partaken in drafting.

The reasons for this was based on the fact that the Normalization Committee has intended to block the regional league clubs from partaking in the decision-making of the Gambia Football Association, by delisting them from the national league and  preventing them from voting during congress of delegates of GFA.

We have seen how the Vice Chairman of the Normalization Committee Omar Sey tried on numerous occasions to justify their inability, and shifting the blame on us the stakeholders as back peddlers in the normalization process. He failed to realize that they are the ones who has slowed down the whole process and created confusion in the minds of the Gambian people, so they could buy more time to delay us beyond September 30th 2012.

Recently, we all witnessed a visit to The Gambia by an envoy from FIFA who, in fact, was scheduled to visit The Gambia from the 27th to the 30th August 2012, but instead the Normalization Committee played   their card well by rescheduling the date to September 12th 2012, because a member of the constitutional review committee would have been away during this time.

And yet still the Vice Chairman Omar Sey has the audacity to tell the people that their work has been impeded by us the stakeholders. He distorted the facts; he should be true to his words if he is really committed to the development of our dear motherland The Gambia.

During Seedy Kinteh’s tenure, he helped registered 5 Gambians as FIFA/CAF match commissioners namely, Jammeh Bojang, Musa Njie, the late Badu Jassey, Hala Adama Samba and Mass Axi Gai.

And he further helped register Gambians to serve as player agents.

We are here to tell them that the time has come for them to show their loyalty to The Gambia. We believe Omar Sey is delaying the GFA Congress in favour of his friend Issa Hayatou who is again vying for re election for the CAF presidency at the next CAF Congress. 

The ultimate truth is that Gambian football is right now suffering because of their selfish interest, especially Omar Sey who thinks without him nothing works.

Be your own judges.

Thank you very much