The President of Sierra Leone Football Association has debunked as “deceit, lack of integrity and indiscipline” the rebellion plaguing football in her country as she fights off a group of rebel administrators who claim they have unseated her and are now in charge of football.
Ms. Isha Tejan – Johansen, one of only two active female Presidents of a National Association says those plotting to force her out of office are damaging the image of her country already wrecked by the Ebola virus that has killed thousands of civilians.
Last week, FIFA rejected the nine-member interim body installed last month headed by one Unisa Alim Sesay and set up by officials unhappy with Johansen’s administration. The body was charged with running the affairs of the Association until elections take place in June.
Alim Sesay wrote to FIFA claiming his Interim body is the new legitimate regime but FIFA have thrown their full weight behind Johansen who came into office in August, 2013.
Amidst the turmoil, Johansen, who has been working to combat Ebola in her country whilst at the same time trying to maintain control of her Association said “the newly installed interim body had no legal basis for taking over”.
“FIFA’s reaction towards the illegal group and their Interim Committee calling themselves SLAFA was a natural response based on the breach of rules and regulations by these individuals,” she said.
“It is clear from the onset that these persons had no regard for the FIFA or SLFA constitution and statutes. They also clearly had no regard or respect for the Public Order and State of Health and Safety of our land, hence the reason for the current criminal investigation that they are currently undergoing.
“Deceit, lack of integrity and indiscipline towards work ethics are the core ills of Sierra Leone football as we know it today.
“It sometimes seems like a futile effort trying to dream about what the future of our country’s football for the next generation holds, when we are unable or unwilling to address and try to remedy the present.”
In his response to Sesay’s letter, FIFA General Secretary Jerome Valcke made it clear who the organisation felt was in charge.
“We kindly invite you to take note of the fact that the Interim Committee you mentioned in your letter is not recognised by FIFA,” said Valcke’s reply.
“Kindly note that as a general principle, FIFA only corresponds/communicates with and through its Member Associations and that in the future FIFA will only correspond/communicate through the SLFA’s official representatives which are its President, Isha Johansen, and its General Secretary, Christopher Kamara.”