Sierra Leone league on hold after clubs opt for boycott

By Mohamed Fajah BarrieBBC Sport, Freetown
Mohamed Kallon

The Sierra Leone top-flight league has been put on hold until further notice following a resolution signed by 10 out of the 14 Premier League clubs to boycott the league last Monday.

The clubs are Diamond Stars, Gem Stars, Kambui Eagles, Old Edwardians FC, FC Kallon, Bo Rangers, Ports Authority FC, Mighty Blackpool, Central Parade FC, and Freetown City FC.

They took the decision in protest against the disqualification of Mohamed Kallon and four other candidates from the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) leadership elections, which will be held in Freetown on Saturday.

A message sent to BBC Sport by the board running the league reads: "In the spirit of fair play and for the good of the game we decided to contact the Chairman of SLFA Normalisation Committee after receiving a letter signed by ten clubs stating their position to boycott the league.

"Both the Premier League Board and SLFA have resolved to immediately put the ongoing league on hold until further notice whilst consultations are ongoing."

Former Inter Milan and AS Monaco striker Kallon was ruled out from taking part in the presidential race on the grounds that he did not meet the requirement of Article 32 (4) of the SLFA Constitution.

The article states: "The members of the executive committee shall be citizens of Sierra Leone and shall have resided in Sierra Leone for a period of no less than five years prior to the congress of which they seek to be elected."

However, Kallon has refused to accept the decision, insisting it is politically motivated and that he has no doubt that he is qualified.

The other two candidates to be disqualified from the presidential race are Rodney Michael and Foday Turay, both because they contravene Article 25 of the Fifa code of Ethics which deals with betting, gambling, lotteries and similar events or transaction connected with football.

The pair have denied any wrongdoing, stating that the article was wrongly interpreted and are they insist they are ready to clear their names.

Meanwhile, Sierra Leone's President Ernest Bai Koroma has intervened to try to find a solution to the problems.

Supporters of both Kallon and Michael held a peaceful protest in front of State House in Freetown last Monday to express their dissatisfaction over the decision to ban their candidates.

President Koroma has had two days of meeting at his residence with the SLFA officials, disqualified candidates and Sports minister Paul Kamara and they will have a final meeting on Thursday after the Fifa representatives arrive in Freetown.

Saturday's elections will take place after several postponements and will be conducted by a Normalisation Committee, which was set up in December by football's world governing body Fifa to run the day-to-day affairs of the SLFA.

Only one candidate Isha Johansen remains in the running for the top job for now and if the decision of the Normalisation Committee to ban the other three presidential candidates stands, she will be appointed unopposed, to become the first female president of the SLFA.

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