-Accuses LNOC of undermining its leadership; asks MYS to investigate claim
The Liberia National Handball Association (LNHA) has sent a letter to the Minister of Youth & Sports complaining about the president of the Liberia National Olympic Committee (LNOC), Philipbert D. Browne’s intervention in its administration.
In a letter dated Nov. 5, a copy of which was sent to the Daily Observer, LNHA president Mason Saweler said the LNOC has ‘grossly interfered and undermined the leadership of the LNHA, thereby slowing down its development in the country.
Saweler said on January 29, 2018, the LNHA received an invitation to participate in the International Handball Federation Africa Zone 3 Handball Competition in Niamey, Niger.
He said Liberia was to join seven other countries including Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and the Ivory Coast with two teams. “The teams were the junior for those born in 1998 and the youth team for players born in 2,000,” he said.
“Upon receipt of the invitation,” Saweler said, “we immediately communicated with the ministry and we confirmed our participation.”
He said training began thereafter and subsequently submitted the list of the delegation, comprising 34 persons, which included 28 athletes and six officials.
He said officially the organizing committee wanted them to travel by road to Niger and, realizing difficulties to travel by road made further appeal to the Organizing Committee who later agreed to fund the two delegations by air at the cost of US$42,500.
While awaiting the money to complete travel arrangement, on March 12, 2018, “We received a letter from Mr. Browne, through Cllr. Sylvester Rennie, chairman of the LNOC arbitration committee, that the IHF has authorized the LNOC to investigate leadership crisis between the association and some aggrieved executive committee members of the LNHA.”
In a seven-count statement that he wants MYS to investigate, Saweler said on April 1, 2018, “we received an email from Hristo Boroskoski-Tiki that he has received a communication from Liberia indicating there was a problem in our association, therefore, he will not make any payment until he gets clarity from the LNOC within three days.”
On April 5, 2018, the LNOC Arbitration Committee “invited us to a hearing on April 7, but we inform the committee we were scheduled to travel on April 8 to Niger and therefore that we would not be in the capacity to honor but upon our return from Niger we would attend the hearing.”
Saweler said, “the LNOC refused to allow us to attend the games because Philipbert Browne has instructed that we should not travel for the games and he had gotten in contact with Hristo Boroskoski-Tiki to cancel our participation.”
At the hearing on April 9, “we provided clarity that coaches, referees, and players were not executive committee members. On April 8, the delegation went to Mr. Browne’s Benson Street office.
“He said he did not want me, president of the LNHA to travel with the delegation and said he could only allow the coaches to head the delegation,” Saweler alleged.
Saweler said the LNHA leadership tentatively agreed to Mr. Browne’s suggestion just to put him on record. Thereafter, Browne asked LNOC Secretary General Fred Pratt to email Boroskoski-Tika with their decision.
However, the Organizing Committee took a decision to leave Liberia out of the competition.
Saweler’s complaint to Sports Minister D. Zeogar Wilson also included what he said was the ‘gross violation of the bylaws and constitution of the LNOC by the appointment of Mr. Malcolm Joseph, who was a public relations officer, to serve as vice president for technical affairs and Fred Pratt as secretary general.
In 2012, Saweler claimed, the LNOC carried a money changer as its athlete to the London Olympic Games that brought shame to the country, under Browne’s leadership.
“In view of the foregoing, we write to forward the LNOC complaint to your office for immediate investigation and we are demanding him to pay the damage fees of USD94,000,” Saweler said.
Copies of the complaint were sent to Chief Patron of Sports, President George Weah, House Committee on Youth and Sports, IHF, IOC, LNOC President and the media.