Football Stakeholders Protest Over Bility Leadership
Since the unfortunate announcement that the President of the Liberia Football Association (LFA) Musa Bility has failed FIFA’s Integrity Check, instability, protest and distrust have engulfed Liberian football over perception that the rejected FIFA Liberian candidate might also have hurt Liberian football.
About two weeks ago, FIFA Elections Committee disqualified Bility owing to ‘Integrity Check’ which they said in their rejection letter of Bility’s involvement in several legal proceedings before Liberian authorities as well as before FIFA.
The committee took note of a conviction of his company (Srimex Oil & Gas) for tax evasion and his six months ban by CAF for an infringement of confidentiality.
The Committee said based on those findings and in particular the multitude of proceedings that were led against him (and of which some resulted in convictions or other decisions by state authorities and sports governing bodies), it could not allow Bility to run for FIFA’s top post.
Howbeit, a week after Bility’s disqualification, presidents of 1st and 2nd division clubs are arguing that Bility should relinquish his post due to his integrity problem faced with the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee of FIFA.
According to reports, some football stakeholders have resolved in secret meetings to mobilize support from colleagues to impeach Mr. Bility as president of the Liberia Football Association.
The stakeholders argued that they are afraid that FIFA/CAF might withdraw their support (financial and materials and technical etc) from Liberian football because of the lack of confidence they have in the LFA boss.
The report further said those club presidents behind the resignation of Mr. Bility include LISCR FC’s Mustapha Raji, Aries FC’s Lemuel Sherman, Invincible Eleven’s Alfred Sayon, Nimba United’s Adolphus Dolo and BYC’s Sekou Konneh, among others.
Interestingly, a week later, the same concerned Liberian football stakeholders rescinded their resignation campaign and are threatening Bility to give them half of the Cellcom GSM sponsorship, or else they would boycott the Cellcom National League.
Accordingly to the three-year deal, Cellcom provides US$650,000, and subtracts US$65,000 for publicity and US$585,000 would be carried forward for three years - giving US$195,000 to the LFA in each of the three years.
This means, the concerned Liberian football stakeholders are demanding US$97,500 from the LFA for each year.
Amongst the campaigners, it’s hard to believe that LISCR’s Raji is on the frontline, because over five months ago, he raised similar arguments and were downplayed by his colleagues.
Howbeit, the latter campaign is far better and is in the right approach for the promotion and development of football.
The reason for Bility to resign, according to the stakeholders is a false alarm because FIFA was clear in its letter to Bility without accusing him of embezzling any FIFA’s funds from the FIFA Assistant Program (FAP) or FIFA’s Goal Project (FGP).
Furthermore, during Bility’s indictment in 2013, FIFA and CAF still supported LFA both financially and technically.
Even during Bility’s suspension for six months, LFA still received support from FIFA and CAF because their objective was to improve the game of football constantly and promote it globally in the light of its unifying, educational, cultural and humanitarian values, particularly through youth and development programmes.
The second campaign, calling for 50% of Cellcom sponsorship, is good, however but the stakeholders are in the constant habit of a ‘short protest’ against Bility whenever negative story or happenings are against him.
Since the ascendancy of Bility the Cellcom 50% Protest is the fifth protest and this issue was raised prior to the 2015 League but only Mustapha Raji of LISCR FC and Fennie L. Dolo of Nimba United insisted on it.
Mr. Raji and Mrs. Dolo called for their colleagues to insist for them to benefit from the sponsorship but their campaign fell on deaf ears – so this means that others now have joined the campaign because Bility failed the integrity check.
Meanwhile, many believed that the club presidents should not use Bility’s failure in the FIFA integrity check to destabilize football – his stoppage to run was national and didn’t involve embezzling football funds or else FIFA would have spilled it out.
Many believe that the stakeholders should engage the LFA in a constructive manner to harmonize their benefits from the Cellcom sponsorship, because such campaign is belated.