Never in the history of Liberia for a Congress of the beautiful game of football to last for less than one hour and 30 minutes, especially with the crucial activities and financial reports, budget covering the next fiscal year, membership fees and proposals for a change in the statutes, amongst others.
Perhaps, the scathing statement of ex-Inter star Luis Figo owing to his withdrawal from FIFA’s elections, that FIFA is a dictatorship – and by extension might have affected member countries – and the Liberia Football Association (LFA), too, is a dictatorship.
The traditional presiding officer of the Congress – the President – Musa Bility domineered over the Congress, with a gavel in his hand as if he threw a spell on the 33 voting-right stakeholders at the 20th LFA Ordinary Congress, held at the PA’s Ribhouse in Sinkor–Lakpazee.
The stakeholders were speechless as they bowed to the intimidation of Musa Bility, chastising and teasing them “they should have known better by writing on any item of the agenda before Congress.”
The “Yes” or “Blue” cards overwhelmingly dominated the Congress and in less than an hour-and-a half, it was all over – and there was a rush of U$50 transportation and spicy food.
Registration began at 8:00am, but the formal convocation of congress didn’t kick off at 9:30am as indicated but started at 10:46am, about 15 minutes after the president Bility’s arrival.
Thirteen of the 15 Executive Committee members were present – Rochell Woodson and Cllr. T.C. Gould were absent.
Deputy Sports Minister Henry B. Yonton, Jr and the vice president for administration of the Liberia National Olympic Committee (LNOC), Cllr. Sylvester Rennie were part of the invited guests, while journalists were termed as observers.
Congress opened with a moment of silence as an opening prayer – with a weird announcement from LFA Media Director, Henry Flomo, that in football, there is no religious recognized.
Interestingly, Mr. Flomo forgot to know that football belief is subject to a country’s principal religion. In past congresses, Christian prayer was offered at the beginning and an Islamic prayer closed the congress – so when did Flomo realize that in football, there is no religion?
Secretary General Alphonso Armah, in consonance of Chapter 19 of the LFA Revised Statute told the stakeholders that the Congress is an annual event.
Cllr. Rennie of the LNOC hailed Mr. Bility for the level of progress made at the LFA and pledged the LNOC’s continuous support.
The LFA boss thanked the stakeholders for their presence and said the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus, which claimed over 5,000 lives, was the delay of the 20th Ordinary Congress.
Deputy Sports Minister Yonton praised the partnership between the Ministry and the LFA and urged Bility to inform the stakeholders about government’s financial assistance to the national football team.
There was a unique video-highlight presentation of the 2014/2015 League and the games between Liberia and Tunisia and Togo – was sticky and messy.
Congress was called to order at 11:10am by Bility.
Mistakenly vice president of administration, Musa Shannon, during the vote of thanks, hailed Nimba United for their first championship as well as Mighty Dragons for the 2nd division title, but didn’t recognize BYC II – and humbly apologized during the 15 minutes break.
Bility also thanked the three winning teams and pledged to support Nimba United in the CAF Club Championship.
He announced that FIFA has approved the erection of the LFA headquarters – but didn’t state the amount, which was contributed by FIFA and pointed out that the football rivalry has shifted between IE and Barrolle to LISCR and BYC and then Nimba United and FC Fassell.
He disclosed that the George M. Weah Technical Center in Careysburg is about 90% completed and would be functional before March 2016.
He praised Chief Patron President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf for instructing Finance Minister Amara Konneh to make about 70% of the expenditure for the game between Liberia and Guinea Bissau on Thursday, October 8 and also Cellcom for being a truthful partner.
He said he is positive of Liberia setting another record of producing the President for FIFA.
The president’s activities report, presentation and approval of the financial report and auditor’s report were also passed but Lemuel Sherman, who made the motion for these items to be opened for discussion, restated his motion for it to passed and placed into the archive when Bility’s compelled him to in accordance to the Statutes that items on the agenda should have been discussed through written application before the Congress.
LISCR FC president Mustapha Raji, who raised the contention of Sherman’s motion that it be opened for discussion, was muted when Sherman apologized for the wrong motion.
There was a heated argument between Raji and Bility on item “I” of the Agenda on the consideration of proposal of amendment of the Statutes and Regulations.
Raji argued that there could be consideration of proposal of the amendment of the Statutes and Regulations if the agenda could have been opened for subsequent approval, and for stakeholders to make recommendations for their amendment, according to Article 35 of the LFA Statutes.
The LISCR boss argued that the Statutes gave the right to 2/3rd members of the delegates to place items in the agenda or make some changes.
Bility described Raji’s argument as “absurd” and said only 45 days to Congress, stakeholders should have written the Secretariat for proposal of amendment of the Statutes and Regulations.
This is the first time for Bility to describe a stakeholder’s remarks as an absurd.
According to Saturday’s agenda, there was no item for approval meaning that perhaps the EC resolved to delete an agenda item even though it’s usually part of FIFA and CAF’s agenda.
The item for the LFA’s next congress was not also part of the agenda – the EC would make that decision.
After Congress, Raji expressed his dissatisfaction to Bility – indicating that he was insulted publicly for trying to make a correction.
Raji refused to receive the US$50 transportation for the clubs.