The Sierra Leone Football Association has been suspended by FIFA with immediate effect due to government interference in soccer affairs.
FIFA’s decision came after it wrote to the African country’s sports minister expressing “grave concern” about the removal of SLFA president Isha Johansen and general secretary Christopher Kamara.
FIFA had asked for both individuals to be allowed to access Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) premises without delay to ensure the operations of the association, including FIFA-funded projects, were not jeopardised.
“The suspension will be lifted once SLFA and its recognized leadership have confirmed to FIFA that the SLFA administration, premises, accounts and communication channels are under their control once again,” FIFA said in a statement.
“Following its suspension, SLFA has lost all its membership rights as defined in article 13 of the FIFA Statutes. The SLFA’s national and affiliated club teams are no longer entitled to take part in international competitions until the suspension is lifted.”
Isha Johanssen, President of Sierra Leone Football Association declined to comment fully because of legal reasons, but told CNN: "It's a sad day for Sierra Leone football and for the Sierra Leone people."
Johansen is the only female football president in Africa and one of only two women to have ever held the role as president of a football association.
Isha Johansen to stand for re-election as president of Sierra Leone's Football Association
The 53-year-old was elected as her football association's president in 2013 but her reign has been difficult.
In 2017, she was charged with abuse of office and misuse of public funds by Sierra Leone's Anti-Corruption Commission - charges which she denies and says is politically motivated.
Last month, the country’s Anti-Corruption Commission followed through on a threat to raid the SLFA’s offices amid allegations of match-fixing involving the national team.
FIFA are also looking at matches as far back as a World Cup qualifier against South Africa in 2008 as part of their own investigation into the match-fixing allegations.
Both Johansen and Kamara deny any wrongdoing.
Since all African teams are now out, the question that would be imperative to ask is whether the FIFA World Cup is systematically designed to exclude …
Credit: By Soka25east