Press release

The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) has reacted with disappointment the decision by Caf to fine it over the incident involving the Gabonese team during a CAN qualifier in Banjul on November 16. The Gabonese team had claimed they were left at the airport for hours unattended which the GFF disputed, saying the visitors didnot comply with the regulation by refusing to show their Covid- 19 certificates.

The Confederation of African Football investigated the matter and came out with a decision fining the Gambia 100,000 USD.


In response, the GFF issued the following statement: “Following the incident that occurred at the Banjul international Airport involving the Gabonese national team and delegation during the return leg of Match Day Four in the AFCON Qualifiers and subsequent to the investigations made by Confederation of African Football on the matter after a complaint was lodged by the Gabon Football Federation, the general public is hereby informed that CAF has communicated the decision  of the Disciplinary Board to the GFF as thus:

“To impose upon the GFF, a fine of 100,000 USD (One Hundred Thousand US Dollars) of which 50,000 USD (Fifty Thousand US Dollars) are suspended on the condition that the GFF is not found guilty of a similar offense within a period of twenty-four (24) months.”

The said decision was made after a teleconference hearing held on Sunday, 6th December 2020 where the GFF was represented by the President Mr. Lamin Kaba Bajo, assisted by the GFF First Vice President, Mr. Bakary K. Jammeh and Chairman of GFF Legal Committee, Mr. Cherno Marenah.

During the said hearing, the GFF reiterated her position on the matter as stipulated in the letter sent to CAF on the matter. These include the following salient points, that:

1. The Gabonese Football Federation has changed their arrival date and time on two occasions and the last one was Sunday, 15 November 2020 at 20:00hrs.

2. The GFF sent a distress message to CAF on Sunday, 15th November 2020 at 21:39hrs and copied the Gabonese FF about the failure of the latter to show up at 20:00hrs as per their last communication and that they did not send any new arrival time.

3. The Gabonese delegation landed at the Banjul international airport at 23:30hrs

4. Upon arrival at the airport, the Gabonese delegation refused to hand over their COVID – 19 Test Results to the health authorities at the airport as required by the local COVID-19 Protocols

5.  The Gabonese delegation further refused to cooperate with the airport health authorities to undergo COVID-19 test at the airport to enable timely release of the results the following day in order to meet the requirement of CAF COVID-19 Protocols for the match,

6.  A push and pull ensued between the Gabonese delegation and the Gambian health authorities at the airport which went on for a few hours

7.  Upon the intervention of the Gabonese Ambassador to the Gambia, resident in Dakar, Senegal, the health authorities allowed the delegation to leave for their hotel with the promise that they will undergo the test at the hotel later in the morning,

8. When the testing team arrived at the hotel for test, the Gabonese delegation again refused to undergo the said test,

9. This stalemate at the hotel between the health authorities and the Gabonese delegation also took sometime until the Testing Team had to abandon their mission,

10.It was after their latest confrontation with the COVID-19 Testing Team that the Gabonese delegation surrendered the COVID-19 test results they arrived with to the CAF COVID-19 Officer.

11.After the Technical Meeting prior to the match, CAF organized a video conference including representatives of both teams, the CAF COVID-19 Officer and the Match Commissioner during which both sides were heard, and CAF subsequently decided that the match should go ahead despite the Gabonese players and officials did not undergo the COVID-19 Test in the country.

Based on the fore-going facts, the GFF wishes to reiterate that it had nothing to do with the alleged incident between the local Gambian health authorities and the Gabonese delegation, rather it was purely within the mandate of the latter as per the laid down National COVID-19 Protocols and Regulations.

Whilst expressing her disappointment and disagreement with the decision of the CAF Disciplinary Board, the GFF felt that the actions of the Gabonese delegation were disrespectful and an insult to our national laws, which in our view was endorsed by CAF. Worst of all, and as far as we know, the Gambia VS Gabon match was the only match out of the 48 matches which were played during that period where a particular team was allowed to play the match without undergoing the COVID-19 Test in the host country. This is yet another manifestation of the bias decision of CAF as the referee in this matter.

After due consultations on the matter, the GFF has decided to launch an appeal against the Decision to the CAF Appeals Board.

We thank the general public for the support and solidarity during this period.