Football activities in the country have been thrown into jeopardy as the world governing body; FIFA has suspended the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) from taking part in any international competition.
The indefinite suspension of SLFA took effect on Tuesday at exactly 17:00 hours following the failure of government through the Ministry of Sport and the Anti-Corruption Commission to reinstate the embattled SLFA President, Isha Johansen and her Secretary General, Chris Kamara after both were indicted by the Commission for alleged corruption and asked to step aside.
The issue of Isha Johansen and football in the country has been a long running battle between herself and football stakeholders on the one hand and the on other hand with government since the days of the Ernest Bai Koroma led APC government.
It was the erstwhile ACC boss, Ade Macauley that even indicted both of them and when the new ACC boss Francis Ben Kailfala took over, he expedited the process by giving both Isha and Chris an ultimatum to step aside within a week or thrown out of office.
With the threat of an imminent FIFA ban at the time, State House through the Chief Minister, Professor David Francis hurriedly conveyed a meeting with the view of resolving the stalemate.
The meeting that was chaired by the Chief Minister in the presence of the Minister of Sport, Ibrahim Nyelenken, SLFA executive and football stakeholders attempted finding an amicable solution to the impasse.
During the said meeting, it was unanimously agreed that an appeal should be made to FIFA regarding the lifting of the suspension; that a delegation travel to FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich within the shortest possible time and that mediation process involving all critical stakeholders is to commence with all parties committing to participate and respect the outcome of a peaceful resolution.
In that light, all the parties engaged in the process appealed for Sierra Leone allowed to participate in the upcoming AFCON qualifiers between Sierra Leone and Ghana, while the process is being pursued.
In order to get FIFA accept the appeal of SLFA to lift the suspension on Sierra Leone, it was unanimously agreed that the FIFA recognized SLFA President, Isha Johansen should write the football world governing body on the issue.
Based on the exigency of time, the entire football family pleaded with FIFA to respond to the appeal within the shortest possible time.
Meanwhile, FIFA replied to SLFA on Tuesday, but however out rightly rejected the appeal on the grounds that by 17:00 hours both Isha Johansen and Chris Kamara should have been reinstated, allowed accessed into their offices and SLFA bank accounts or else the suspension will stand.