22 February 2013

Gambia: GFA to Hold Congress March 30th

The Gambia Football Association will go ahead with the scheduled plans to hold an elective congress to elect an executive that will steer the affairs of our football for the next four years despite the latest developments from football world governing body, according to officials.

FIFA last week rejected the adoptive GFA constitution and tasked the Normalisation Committee to interpret the statutes of the FA in a way as to ensure that only clubs "which played regular GFA competitions" can participate in the General Assembly and thus be part of any statutes revision of electoral process.

According to the FIFA letter sent to the FA, following the December 8th, 2012 Adoptive Congress, the draft constitution, which was put before delegates incorporated all the substantiated changes to the constitution and "accepted by FIFA, CAF and government, the December Congress effected considerable changes through amendments into that document. Following the submission of the Congress report, FIFA carried out consultations with the Normalisation Committee, Confederation of African Football and its representative who visited The Gambia and those culminated in the meeting of the FIFA Associations Committee held on the 13th February, 2013.

The Committee at that meeting looked at the constitution of the congress and realised that many of those that attended and took part in the congress are not playing regular football in the GFA competitions. Thus it concluded that the adoptive congress was biased and not realistic. FIFA says the Normalisation Committee now has to interpret the statutes and ensure that only clubs that had played Regular football under GFA Competitions can participate in the GFA General Assembly.

It again further directed the Normalisation Committee to organise another Congress under this dispensation so that the draft constitution will be re-examined and adopted before an elected congress will be called to elect the new executive. It was believed that the Normalisation Committee will need more time to effect those FIFA recomendations. But speaking at a press conference at the GFA House in Kanifing, Sey explained that they have no intention of requesting for an extension from FIFA because they want to deal with the issue once and for all.

According to Sey, they have put up a mechanism in place in making sure that they come up with a list of clubs that have been playing regular competitions organised by the football association before they will be eligible to vote at the elective congress. He revealed that the size of the congress delegates will be smaller than the December 8th congress and in his words "those ghost clubs" that are not playing any proper competition will not be allowed to decide or determine the fate of Gambian football.

He further stated that following their recomendations to FIFA after the December congress, the world governing body has asked for the game to be decentralised across the country which has to start at the grassroots level and it has to be played at an organised level citing a particular club called Rising Stars from the Upper River Region as an example.

Sey, who also revealed that the chairman of the Normalisation Committee is back in The Gambia after sometime out on a medical treatment abroad further stated that they will need to give only two weeks notice to call for a congress to adopt the constitution and another two weeks to call for an elective congress.

"Primo (head of FIFA's legal affairs division) spoke to me on the need to extend but I told him that we don't even need that so we will be going ahead with the congress at the end of March. Even if there is a need for an extension, it won't be more than two weeks so I can definately say that at most, by mid-April, there will be an elective executive at the GFA," Sey promised.

When put to him that those clubs he regarded as ghost teams were in hand to bring him and others at the helm of affairs at the FA, Sey categorically denied those claims and said he was never elected as a president of the FA in 2004. His words: "I was never elected as the President of the GFA in 2004, I was only called to come and help like today and if Mr Conateh (former FA President) and Mr (Seedy Kinteh) were elected by those clubs, then it was wrong," he asserted.

Proposed League sponsorship package

The domestic first division league has been named as the Gamtel/Gamcel League with the name of the telecomunication giants printed on the match-day tickets as part of the deal but the official signing ceremony has yet to take place to make the deal binding.

And speaking on the delay on record for the first time, Sey revealed that there are still some hitches that needed to be sorted out which is still the stumbling block. He added that the Youth and Sports minister (Alieu Kebba Jammeh) has been asked by the FA to talk to his contact person in other to finalise the deal.

The vice chairman of the Normalisation Committee further stated that they are currently talking to Qcell as a possible sponsor for the second division league and other GFA organised competitions which according to him is at an advanced stage.

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