When George Weah was announced president-elect of Liberia, it became a sign of relief for followers of football. Liberia Football Association president Musa Bility welcomed the pronouncement and stated that “the best moment of football is about to come” since Liberia will now have a president that burst onto the national scene through football.
Liberian football has been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons: the poor performance of the national team in international competitions, the failure to decentralize the sport in other counties, the low budgetary allotment from national government to the LFA, the continuous fading away of fans from the national league, and worst of it all, the alleged disappearance of U$600,000 FIFA funds from LFA’s account.
These wrong reasons have been in the headlines for quite a long time. Football regulators have blamed the Government of Liberia for its lack of interest to invest enough money in the game.
In the wake of the blame game, it must be agreed that Musa Bility’s “best moments” of football will not be realized if credible officials are not selected to run the LFA to give the Liberian government the reason to prioritize the development of the game.
On the recent allegation that following a visit of FIFA auditors to the Liberia Football Association, its president, Musa Bility, requested a full-scale criminal investigation after it was discovered that US$600,000 was allegedly missing from its coffers: it suggests more questions than answers.
We want to believe that the LFA has an effective financial system with a treasurer and other individuals who are responsible for sound financial management of the association. How was it possible for “unknown documents” to be presented to FIFA auditors by “unknown persons, that the LFA is not aware?”
There is something the Liberia Football Association is not telling us. But what is clear is that the LFA is saying that even though they were aware of FIFA auditors coming to Liberia, they did not prepare adequately to give them documents necessary for their work. For the LFA to even claim that there were “unknown documents” from “unknown persons” suggests a serious financial management problem.
How can this negative story convince ex-soccer star, President-elect George Weah to put money into Liberian football?
Football as one of the world’s greatest sports is not just about competition, but a catalyst for positive change, as unexpected and hidden solutions to national problems can be unearthed through football.
Our Liberian players and fans deserve better. Liberian football needs a fresh start and better headlines.