The regional clubs in the country have further protested what they called their expulsion from Gambian football. This was contained in a letter sent to the secretary general of the Gambia Football Association, Abdul Salam Jammeh in response to its original letter.
The letter, which was copied to the Honourable Minister of Youth and Sports, Executive Secretary of the National Sports Council, Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly and the Regional Governors was also sent to Observer Sports. We reproduce below the full text of the letter:
We write acknowledging the receipt of your reply letter on our protest and the content noted.However, your description of our position as false, erroneous and misleading was consumed with a "pinch of salt". But we will endeavour to explore and use the best of tones to put our cases across the football spectrum.
We write once again to strongly express our dissatisfaction about emerging issues affecting our football in the region. While we expect the Normalisation Committee on Gambian Football to shade light on the deliberate attempts to change specific articles of The Gambia Football Association's Constitution, the reply is infested with a catalogue of development initiatives conceived by the Normalisation Committee, and it is evident that nothing can be achieved without the participation of the regions.
As an August body responsible for coordinating regional league football, we also noted with great concern the Normalisation Committee's latest attempt to modify and change the provisions of the following Articles:-
ARTICLE 23 Delegates and Votes
1 (A) two delegates from each of the 12 First Division national League Clubs.Instead of 12, it should be 18 including the 6 Regional First Division teams.
23 1 (b) two delegates from each of the 10 second Division national League clubs.Instead it should be 20 including the 10-second division regional teams.
23 1(d) two delegates from each regional league association (clubs) Instead, it should be two delegates from each regional club and not association.
23.1 (e) two delegates fromeach of the six women league clubs.Instead, it should be 12 league clubs including the 6 from the regional women league clubs.
23.5 members of the Executive Committee and the General Secretary shall take part in the general assembly without voting rights. During their term of office, members of the executive committee shall not be appointed as delegates for their associations. Instead, members of the executive committee shall be pointed as delegates from their clubs and not associations with voting rights.
ARTICLE 11 MEMBERSHIPS
11.1 The following entities shall be eligible for membership to the GFA:-
1 )(a The 12 First Division clubs. Instead, it should ben18 first division clubs including the 6 first division clubs from the region.
1 (b) The 10 second division clubs. Instead, it should be 20-second division clubs including the second division clubs from the regions
ARTICLE 33 GFA EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
1 (e) Seven other members who shall represent each of the region al football leagues. Instead, it should read: Seven members of the club representatives from the regions as recommended in the FIFA approved statues of the Gambia Football Association.
33.5 Candidates for the position of President and Vice President of the Executive must have a minimum qualification of an advanced diploma in any field of study. The positions of President and Vice President are not academic functions and the requirement attached to it is not relevant.
Furthermore, your arbitrary attempt to make amendments and changes in the GFA constitution which you claim to align with FIFA standards, records shows that membership of that body is not broad-based. Infact, part of that assignment has been successfully completed and congress was to decide on the draft approved by FIFA.
All the required inputs suggested by the World Football governing body have been drafted in.However, your Normalisation sub-committee set up to align the constitution with FIFA recommended one is seen to malign the region from both voting and representation. Attach with is a letter of FIFA approved statutes of Gambian Football Association.
With regards to your earlier claim that the regions have not been sidelined from Gambian football, why then has it been conspicuously clear that the FA cup championship does not include the regions and even talk of them being mentioned. A competition like the FA Cup provides the platform to expose our regional contingents to the talent show and exposures forming the bases for the national team selections. History has associated regions to a lot of success stories in the FA Cup competitions which were NATIONAL as opposed to your new Normalisation device of Urbanising Gambian football and further elbowing the regions from the national cake which is for all of us.
The region also note with apprehension, the abortion of our running First Division Regional league shortly before Gambia/Algeria game in February.We are now calling for an unconditional resumption of our regional league just as the national league. Attach with are official Fixtures of both regional First division Male and Female as well as the FA Cup.
It must be born in mind that these issues are viewed with utmost seriousness as they form the bases for the future of football in the regions and the country as a whole. We also wish to remind the general public that the decision to create parallel leagues (National and Regional) is not accidental. The idea was taken based on principles such as inadequate infrastructures for the travelling teams. This example is just next-door when teams in the Southern regions of Senegal are scheduled for matches in the North.