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Youth & Sports PS says GFA dissolution ‘final and irreversible’

Mar 8, 2012, 1:26 PM

Mambanyick Njie, permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, has said the decision taken by the Youth and Sports ministry to dissolve the Gambia Football Association is final and irreversible.

“The ministry would prefer to be banned by FIFA and reorganise the [present] Gambia Football Association in the interest of the Gambian people than waste their resources,” Mr. Njie said during an interview at West Coast Radio on Tuesday night.

“The decision by the ministry is in the best interest of the Gambian people,” he said, adding: “There is no witch-hunting of anyone.”

The sports permanent secretary made these remarks following comments by world football governing body FIFA on Monday that The Gambia faces “severe sanctions” if the government maintains the dissolution of the country’s football association, which took place on Friday.

FIFA says it has written to the GFA insisting it has not “recognised and/or condoned” the government’s decision. It maintains that “no governmental instituted ‘interim committee’ will be recognised and/or dealt with by FIFA.”

FIFA has also asked the elected officials who have been ousted to report on their situation by Thursday. “Upon expiry of this deadline, the submission of the present case to FIFA’s Emergency Committee will be evaluated,’’ FIFA warned.

The emergency panel chaired by FIFA President Sepp Blatter can suspend countries from world football if it decides that governments have interfered in the running of the affairs of sport, which Fifa prohibits.

PS  Njie again: “FIFA should have been the first institution to act against the GFA for flouting the rules of the game. We as a government are tired of participating for the sake of it. We want to participate to get results. If people are talking of FIFA banning us, we would prefer to be banned and reorganise ourselves than wasting our resources.

“So they cannot continue to hide behind FIFA. We will not reinstate them and we are not going back - simple; because the GFA is not bigger than the country or the government and the people at the FA are not bigger than the officials at the Ministry.

 “They will evaluate the case at the emergency committee and look at both submissions and we believe that we have a good case and if FIFA is interested in the development of football, they will investigate the issues. We do not care whether the clubs support us or not but even now, the majority of the clubs have signed our petition, which wasn’t our idea at the first place.”

The youth and sports PS added: “GFA should listen to the Government of The Gambia before any other institution and if they failed to do so, it is their problem.

“We are talking of the issue of transparency and accountability. But for three years now, the GFA has blatantly refused to adopt the constitution recommended by FIFA probably because, effectively, with the adoption of that constitution, they were of the fear that they would have been wiped out by the clubs longtime ago.”

He said that the members of the interim committee announced by government on Monday was to be inaugurated on 7 March 2012. 

They are mandated with the task to review the constitution of the FA to be in line with FIFA’s, and to re-organize both the local league and restructure the technical department of the FA