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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

What GFF thinks of NSC Task Torce report

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Among the recommendations was the call for the GFF top brass to resign honorably which of course was not done leading to Wednesday’s suspensions.

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In their letter of response to the task force report, the GFF alleged that at least two of the members of the task force have personal issues with the GFF and therefore should have recused themselves from sitting in the ad-hoc committee. The GFF letter, belatedly released to the press, is reproduced below: 

 

Re: National Sports Council Task Force Report On The Liberia Vs Gambia Match 

Introduction 

This is a response to the report sent to the Gambia Football Federation with a covering letter dated 29th April 2014 (not on National Sports Council letterhead) and signed by Marcel Mendy with designation as the Secretary to the National Sports Council (NSC) Task Force on the investigation on the disqualification of the Gambia U-20 Team. 

We have observed that two of the five members of the Task Force investigating this critical and very important national Issue have had personal issues with Gambia Football Federation in the recent past. Therefore, the least that is expected of them is to excuse themselves from this important national duty in order to avoid compromising the independence and integrity of the task force and their report thereof.

It is in anticipation of such irregularities as highlighted in paragraph two above, that we deem it appropriate to engage the services of a credible and professional investigative body in The Gambia in line with best practices.  As a result Gambia Football Federation wrote to the Inspector General of Police Force inviting him to thoroughly investigate the matter leading to the disqualification of our U-20 team. We believe that the Gambia Police Force is credible and independent and that their findings on this saga will provide a clear picture as to what has transpired and their recommendations will provide sufficient information for the key stakeholders to make informed decisions.

 

B. The CAF Circular dated 2nd September 2013 FOR THE ENGAGEMENT IN THE PREMILINARIES OF THE 19TH EDITION OF THE AFRICAN U-20 CHAMPUIONSHIP, SENEGAL 2015 

The CAF circular dated 2nd September 2013 regarding the eligibility of players for the 19th Edition of the Africa U-20 championship, Senegal 2015 was sent to all member associations affiliated to CAF. This circular is said to have been received at the Gambia Football Federation on the 5th September 2013 and the time was indeed confirmed by the confidential secretary who is now the admin assistant after the Liberia/ Gambia game.

Our findings revealed that the CAF circular received by the confidential secretary at the time was handed over to former acting secretary general and head of the secretariat of the Gambia Football Federation, Mr Marchel Mendy and  who is now the deputy executive director of  the National Sports Council and also a member and a secretary of the National Sports Council taskforce formed to investigate the matters leading to the disqualification of the Gambia’s U-20 national team for his information and action. 

The findings also revealed that former acting secretary general and head of the secretariat of the Gambia Football Federation Mr Marchel Mendy minuted on the circular on the 9th September 2013 “Admin, Please file and kindly remind me to discuss with the president”.

Unlike other correspondences to Gambia Football Federation, there is no evidence that former acting secretary general and head of the secretariat of the Gambia Football Federation Mr Marchel Mendy had tabled nor discussed this very critical and important document with the president of the Gambia Football Federation or any of the executive members.

Article 45.4 paragraph (f) of the Gambia Football Federation’s Constitution states that the Secretary General –“shall be responsible for all Gambia Football Federation correspondence”. In line with this Article of the Gambia Football Federation’s Constitution, former acting secretary general and head of the secretariat of the Gambia Football Federation Mr Marchel Mendy is entirely responsible for all the correspondence including the CAF circular which was received and minuted by him on the 9th September 2013 but was never brought to the attention of the Gambia Football Federation Executive Committee for information and action.

Furthermore, the former acting secretary general and head of the secretariat of the Gambia Football Federation Mr Marchel Mendy did not mention this very critical and important circular in his handing-over notes neither submitted it to the current General Secretary of the Gambia Football Federation.

Since this very critical and important circular was never brought to the attention of the president and his executive members, the Gambia Football Federation relied on the existing CAF U-20 Rules and Regulations to determine the eligibility of the players for the preliminaries and qualification rounds for the 19th Edition of the Africa U-20 championship in Senegal 2015. 

This CAF circular which is the cornerstone of this unfortunate disqualification of our U-20 team focusing on the role of the former acting secretary general and head of the secretariat of the Gambia Football Federation Mr Marchel Mendy not been sufficiently addressed in the Taskforce Report. 

Based on the items stated above, it is our conviction that this unfortunate incident could have been avoided if the former acting secretary general and head of the secretariat of the Gambia Football Federation had carried out his responsibilities as enshrined in Article 45.4 paragraph (f) of the Gambia Football Federation Constitution.

 

C. Allegations on the said advices given to the team delegation to Liberia 

We noted with concern and as quoted on Pages 5 and 6 of the report, where various officials of the National Sports Council and the Ministry Of Youth and Sports alleged that they have provided advice to the team delegation to Liberia on the eligibility criteria, if such criteria exist with those officials why was it not shared with the staff of the Gambia Football Federation. Given that the relationship between the Gambia Football Federation, National Sports Council and the Ministry of Youth and Sports have been cordial and formal, we expect such advices to be communicated in writing. Therefore, in the absence of a written document substantiating the allegations indicated in the Task Force Report, the Gambia Football Federation does not have any evidence to take further actions without subjecting it to a thorough investigation by a competent and professional body.

 

D. Conclusions 

All the players that participated in the Liberia Vs Gambia match on April 6th 2014 are under the age 0f twenty (20 years) as indicated by their national identity documents. 

Some of the members of the Taskforce to investigate the disqualifications of the U-20 team should have excused themselves from this function because of their recent past relationships with the Gambia Football Federation. It is obvious that one of the task force members played a critical role in handling the CAF Circular on eligibility of the players for the U-20 competition.

If the CAF circular on Eligibility Of Players for the CAF U-20 preliminaries of the 19th edition received by the then Confidential Secretary and handed over to former acting secretary general and head of the secretariat of the Gambia Football Federation Mr Marchel Mendy at the time for his information and appropriate actions in line with his role and responsibilities as enshrined in Article 45.4 paragraph (f) of the Gambia Football Federation Constitution, this problem, would have been averted.

In light of all the above, the Gambia Football Federation felt it necessary to request for a thorough investigation by an independent  and credible body with a view to providing explicit recommendations geared towards ensuring  that decisive actions are taken against people who are found wanting in this saga.

To further clarify, Gambian player Ali Sowe has only one Gambian passport that was issued in 2011 and has been using only that Passport ever since, The  CAF claimed that Ali Sowe had two different dates of birth with the same passport number is practically impossible in The Gambia, given that all passports in the country have unique numbers. Our investigations further revealed that, there was an error in entering the bio data of the said players in 2012 well before we assumed office.

Until the investigation by the independent body set for the purpose is completed we do not find any reason for the resignation of the executive members of the Gambia Football Federation. The request for the vacation of Executive members can only be constitutional upon request by the general assembly.

Finally, we remind the National Sports Council that their call for the resignation of executive members and dissolution of the Gambia Football Federation is not in line with the GFF Constitution which governs all activities of the federation. We further call on the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to join the GFF in defending The Gambia appeal against the decision of CAF.

To further clarify, Gambian player Ali Sowe has only one Gambian passport that was issued in 2011 and have been using only that Passport ever since, The  CAF claimed that Ali Sowe had two different dates of birth with the same passport number is practically impossible in the Gambia, given that all passports in the  have  unique numbers. Our investigations further reveal that, there was an error in entering the bio data of the said players in 2012 well before we assume office.

Until the investigation by the independent body set for the purpose is completed we do not find any reason for the resignation of the executive members of the Gambia Football Federation. The request for the vacation of Executive members can only be constitutional upon request by the general assembly.

Finally, we remind the National Sports Council that their call for the resignation of executive members and dissolution of the Gambia Football Federation is not in line with the GFF Constitution which governs all activities of the federation. We further call on the National Sports Council and the Ministry of Youth and Sports to join the GFF in defending The Gambia appeal against the decision of CAF.

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