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GFF promises free and fair elections

Jul 26, 2013, 10:41 AM | Article By: Lamin Cham

The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) Normalization Committee on Thursday called a press briefing to give updates on the process leading to the executive elections on Wednesday.

Addressing a large assembly of the press corp, NC spokesman Omar Sey said the priority before the nation now is to move on to hold a free and fair election to usher in a new body of people to run football.

“I would like us all to move forward. The fact about the process is all in the table. People can form opinions, but we had a job which we have done to the best of our abilities,’’ he said.

The NC spokesman also revealed that they have been working closely with Fifa all along this process, and ‘’they are kept informed on our every step.’’

“People have to understand that the NC was an offshoot of Fifa, but sadly most people failed to accept the authority of the NC ,’’ he said.

Mr Sey then passed the baton to Cherno Marena, a legal practitioner and NC member, who gave a full run down of the progress towards the election, including the electoral code and voting procedure, as well as the process involving the controversial decision to ban some members of the former executive and management committee.

Marena took time to explain that contrary to claims elsewhere, an audit report is only called a report after it has been compiled taking into account the views and responses of the management that was audited.

“So the Disciplinary Committee studied and based its recommendation from what is in the audit report, which had the queries and responses of the management taken up,’’ he said.

Furthermore, according to Marena, the NC accorded room and time for the affected parties to appeal against their decision, but they decided to take their queries in another fashion, until the time elapsed.

Dilating further, Marena said the GFA constitution has advised for local auditing to be done annually, but this has not been the case with the former executive, whose books have not been audited from 2009 to 2011.

“Fifa makes a random selection of just about ten percent of its members to conduct audits, but locally there should have been an audit exercise yearly,’’ he said.

He added there were 27 queries raised by auditors in the audit report for the three years the audit exercise covered.

He said the disciplinary committee looked into these queries, and came up with what sanctions should be in place and who should be hold responsible or culpable, and then came out with the recommendations.

‘’Since football matters are not taken to court it is handled by football itself, hence the sanctions,’’ Marena said.

On the election process, Marena said the NC has consulted and invited the Independent Electoral Commission, IEC, to come as observers, as well as a representative of FIFA and CAF.

He disclosed that there would be 72 delegates to the congress, but only 51 delegates can vote since the Players’ Association, which has two votes, have not been formed and cannot vote.

“The players have been very busy completing their league games when the process of building theaffiliated associations started, so it would be the job of the next executive to form them,’’ Marena said.

Marcel Mendy, acting Secretary General of the GFF, explained that the NC is keen on having an elaborate process on election day.

“We are busy processing accreditations for delegates and the media, and we have put in place all measures; even security arrangements have been made,’’ he said.

Mendy said there will be proper arrangements in place to ensure an orderly and peaceful congress.

Responding to a question on why the banned officials were not served with letters of the decisions, instead of placing them in the media, Marena said there will always be many views on the method used to transmit the decision.

“We chose to put it in the mediaand it worked, because the people affected reacted meaning the method was efficient,’’ he said.

The briefing which was chaired by GFF media officer BB Baldeh was also attended by assistant acting secretary general Ebou L. Secka.

Meanwhile, Fifa had written to the Normalization Committee expressing solidarity with the decisions taken by the disciplinary committee.

The letter addressed to the NC by secretary general Jerome Valke stated: “Good governance has become more and more important and as you know Fifa has undertaken big internal changes to meet the challenge. The same is expected from the Member Associations and, as mentioned during the Fifa congress in Mauritius, stricter rules will be gradually implemented in orderfor the football family to be more transparent in its management.’’