- Wednesday, 21 March 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
World football governing body FIFA and The Gambia have agreed a compromise yesterday in Zurich, Switzerland in which FIFA President Sepp Blatter has instructed a Normalization Committee to address the crisis in Gambian football.
It could be recalled that the Government of The Gambia through its Ministry of Youth and Sports decided to dissolve the former executives of the Gambia Football Association (GFA) two days after the Scorpions of The Gambia lost 2-1 at home against the Desert Foxes of Algeria in the 2013 first leg AFCON Qualifier.
The decision came yesterday after a meeting between the FIFA president Sepp Blatter and Sports Minister Alieu K Jammeh in Zurich on Tuesday, in which it was agreed a “normalization” committee would take over affairs at the GFA with elections due to be held on September 30th and it clears Gambia to take part in any competition organized by CAF or FIFA.
A FIFA statement read, “The Minister of Sports clearly indicated that the Gambian authorities did not want to interfere but rather assist the interested parties to overcome the present difficulties in order to continue to develop football in Gambia. The FIFA President welcomed the commitment of the Gambian authorities and stated that the FIFA Emergency Committee had tasked him to assist to solve the problems.”
“As such, the FIFA President [Sepp Blatter] announced the nomination of a normalization committee comprising seven members, including Alhagie OB Conateh as chairman and Omar Sey as vice-chairman,” the statement added.
“The tasks assigned to the normalization committee include the adoption of new statutes in line with FIFA recommendations and the organization of the elections of a new board according to the new statutes,” the statement concludes.
The body added that members of the Normalization Committee will not be eligible to contest the next GFA elections.
Gambia was initially threatened with expulsion from world football by FIFA, which usually takes a strong stance against state interference in the affairs of member associations. However, yesterday’s decision effectively endorsed the removal of the current Seedy Kinteh lead executive.
The Minister of Youth and Sports Alieu Jammeh was joined by his Permanent Secretary Mambanyick Njie, OB Conateh and Omar Sey while FIFA were represented by President Sepp Blatter, General Secretary Jérôme Valcke and FIFA’s Director of Development and Member Associations Thierry Regenass.
OB Conateh is the GFA honorary life president, while Sey is a former president of the Gambian body. In addition to clearing the Scorpions to contest their World Cup qualifying group against Morocco, Ivory Coast and Tanzania, FIFA’s decision also allows local sides Brikama United and Gamtel to contest in the CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup respectively. Brikama United are set to face title-holders Espérance Sportive de Tunis this weekend in a prestigious encounter at the Box Bar Mini Stadium while Gamtel host Real de Bamako of Mali at the Independence Stadium.