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Thursday, April 15, 2021

GFF vs Ministry: Public spat Round Two

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There does not seem to be any assuring signs of normalcy in the small public quarrel between the Minister of Youth and Sports Henry Gomez and the leadership at Football House, at least if another recent public spat is anything to go by. A few weeks ago, amid rumours that a plan was hatched to dissolve or suspend the GFF, Minister Gomez made a front page appearance in the Point saying while he does not have intention to dissolve the GFF, he wants greater transparency and an investigation into the Fifa goal Project where it is claimed over USD800, 000, (some D35 Million dalasi) was spent on repairs and furniture. Shortly after, GFF President Lamin Bajo too hit the front page refuting the minister’s claims and accusing the minister of causing bad blood by going into the media instead of engaging the GFF over any matter especially after being supplied with documents about the Fifa Goal project.

Last week both parties visited the project and while the GFF was keen on providing media coverage, The Standard understand that the Minister was not keen on a media parade of the visit preferring to keep their impression and observation to themselves and the GFF. However somehow the GFF Facebook page, which has been carrying official information from Football House, put up a story saying the Minister expressed satisfaction with the work at the center.

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Some mainstream media and newspapers, not The Standard, carried the GFF’s account of the visit. That did not go down well with the Minister and his staff. They swiftly called for an apology denying the Minister ever said such. The GFF apology read thus: “The Gambia Football Federation GFF regrets to state that the statement ‘ Minister GOMEZ is said to be satisfied with the facilities and congratulated the GFF for a job well done’ as contained in our social media Facebook page of Wednesday July 26th is an error…
The GFF regrets that the error is further been reproduced in some newspaper publications and thus apologize for any inconveniences caused for this development.”

Meanwhile The Standard has been reliably informed that the Ministry and National Sports Council have called the GFF to what is dubbed as a technical meeting where matters pertaining to the Center and the recent poor results of the national teams will be discussed. According to our sources the Minister is concerned about the recent poor results of the national teams and has asked for the GFF to give some explanations to the public.

Last night The Standard reached out to a keen observer of the recent developments who gave the following analyses. “While it is not clear exactly what the Minister is up to but he is not entirely happy with happenings at the GFF. But as far as the Goal project is concern it will be difficult for one to get a solid proof of wrongdoing. All what the current noise can achieve is to raise doubts and perhaps morally embarrass the GFF. The poor showing of the national teams too is not helping the confidence in the technical capacity of the GFF. This compounded of course by the still brewing uproar from the recent regional elections can make one to safely say that the current GFF executive has never been faced with such a pressure as they are now facing”.

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