The Liberia Football Association will enforce CAF’s Club Licensing System in the 2015/16 soccer league, stakeholders who attended last Saturday’s Interactive Forum at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium were told.
LFA President Musa Bility, responding to enquiries from participants, said it is not the duty of the association to provide money to support member clubs.
“We are the regulators of football,” Bility said, “and our role is to ensure that we regulate and provide standard that will improve on the overall development of the game.”
President Bility’s clarification stemmed from inquiries by several clubs, including LISCR FC and Nimba United FC for the need to get some financial support in the wake of the Ebola virus disease that affected the clubs.
Bility said funds received from FIFA are exclusively for development purposes and not for clubs.
He noted that the LFA made it clear to teams at the last Buchanan Congress that FIFA would provide U$750,000 financial assistance to the association.
“The money is a special bonus from FIFA and the LFA is using this money to construct our national headquarters,” he told the gathering.
So far, he said, “We have received $250k of this amount and purchased two pieces of land in Congo Town. We will use the remaining $500k to commence the construction of a $738k LFA HQ beginning February and we also received $100k from CAF towards this project.”
Regarding the Financial Assistance Program, (FAP), from FIFA, he said it is the only revenue available to the LFA for the smooth running of the day to day operations of the Liberia Football Association.
“We have no intention to distribute this money to clubs. In fact this money comes to LFA quarterly and we are yet to receive the first batch,” he said.
He noted that concerning Cellcom GSM sponsorship money 45% goes towards prizes for clubs at the end of the season and the other 55% is used partially to finance the league hoping that the clubs registration and penalties will fill in the gap.
The LFA, Bility said, “has no extra money to give to clubs. What we have done in the last four years is to put the LFA under great financial stress in order to assist the clubs.”
He, however, pointed out that almost all the first division clubs still have enough credit with the LFA to register for the upcoming league.
Bility reminded all club presidents that under the new clubs licensing regime the LFA too has obligations it must meet to carry out to a certain standard. “We will not abdicate our responsibilities to support clubs. It is expected that everyone desiring to own a club must have the finances to do so or disregard the quest.”
Without pulling punches, Bility declared, “The ownership of clubs is a commercial venture that yields direct benefits to the clubs NOT LFA. We are the regulators of clubs not administrators.”
He said the LFA will make all clubs in the 2015/16 seasons live up to at least twenty five percent requirement demanded in the Club Licensing System.
The Club Licensing System demands every team to have, among other things, a youth team, a specified amount in its bank account, an office, and contract agreement with both players and technical staff.
Bility said to get a good soccer league, players, coaches; medics and referees must receive necessary support, pointing out that the LFA is prepared to have a minimum number of clubs to ensure that a standard is set for the league this year.
The forum had a team of panelist who provided overviews and answered questions in their respective areas. The areas included issues on coaches, referees, medics, and club management.
The forum was organized by the technical department of the LFA, and its director Henry Browne earlier explained the importance of those involved in football meeting to exchange ideas to get some clarifications before the league proper.
Coach Gabriel Johns discussed issues affecting coaches, relations with referees and clubs’ presidents. It was noted that because the roles of club officials are not defined, there are always overlapping their functions to tell coaches what to do during the process of a game.
Bility pointed out that such development comes because of the coaches’ fear of failure, and assured all those involved in the game that the LFA demands clubs to sign contracts with coaches and their players to minimize some of the inherent overlapping of functions.