The FIFA delegate to the GFA Draft Constitution adoptive congress held at the Friendship Hotel in Bakau over the weekend has said that the first proposed Draft Constitution was the best for the development of the Gambia Football Association (GFA) and Gambian football as whole.
Primo Carvaro also decried the fact that delegates decided to amend The Constitution by bringing in things that were more or less in the previous set-up.
The visibly disappointed FIFA delegate was speaking during a press conference shortly after the delegates amended and adopted the Constitution.
He explained that they have spent long hours preparing the Constitution that they think is the best for Gambian football, noting that the Constitution has been adopted with improvement in different areas and different tools that were not in the GFA before.
He continued: "But I don't want to hide many issues, which among them was the membership of who should participate in the General Assembly. Also, football was not developing all over the country and was focused only in Greater Banjul. We created regional associations in the Constitution in order to make sure that football is developed in the regions, which has not been accepted by delegates and they have brought in clubs."
The FIFA delegate also noted that it was the same people who were complaining that football is only concentrated in the Greater Banjul Area.
He said he is going to report back what has happened to his colleagues, and FIFA will either accept the Statutes or not. He added that it does not mean that if FIFA did not accept then the Constitution is not valid. "Not only we wanted to develop football in the regions but we wanted to see balance in the football and not single group making the majority. I will be frank and that is I am a bit disappointed even though the Constitution has been adopted. What I know is that what was prevailing before was not good for the game of football and my feeling is that we are still with the same set-up," he further stated.
Carvaro pointed out that it was a golden opportunity to effect change and get rid of certain things, but the amendments by delegates didn't match with the wishes of FIFA because they want football to be developed all over the country. "I am just coming from Djibouti, and they accepted to have regional associations. I think this Constitution is more or less the same as the former set-up," he revealed.
On his part, Alhaji Omar Sey, vice chairman of the GFA Normalisation Committee who also doubles as the chairman of the Constitutional Review Committee announced that the Constitution as amended was adopted by a two-thirds majority. He said he did not expect some of the amendments. "Frankly speaking, some of the amendments are not good for Gambian football, but the delegates have the sovereign right to approved and they have approved it and we will work by that," he remarked.
He added: "It is step forward that we have a constitution that is openly debated, we have mechanism that will assist in developing football, but frankly I am disappointed that we don't accept the idea of having regional associations as found in any developing country, but the delegates in their sovereign right chose what they want. We will try to work with them with that and see where it will take us from now to March. But I will have liked to see more changes of going forward than backward."
Sey also said he was happy that the Normalisation Committee carried out its responsibilities. He also said that they will now wait and see the implications of amending and adopting the Constitution.
"They accused us of limiting football in the Greater Banjul and here they are rejecting a constitution that will decentralise the game across the country," he concluded.
On his part, the minister of Youth and Sports, Alieu K. Jammeh, thankedPrimo Carvaro for all the support he has been giving during the process.
His words: "I would like you to extend our sincere thanks to the FIFA president for standing by our side in normalising Gambian football.
"I register my sadness and sorrow as stakeholder, we should be sorry for ourselves for rejecting a golden opportunity to develop football. Yes, we have adopted the Constitution but adopting it by amendment and putting issues that don't take us forward. We wanted to decentralise football meaningfully."
He said as a government, their interest is the country and not personal interest of those who want to stick to facts that will take us back. "I am very much disappointed, saddened, and worried that we will not move forward with the kind of stakeholders we have, but we will not sit aside and see people killing football. They can go with their Constitution and as a government we also have our programme that we can implement," he stressed.