Describing its decision as belated, Mr. Musa Bility, president of the Liberia Football Association, nevertheless yesterday announced plans to engage the national legislature to reclaim the national identity, Lone Star that is specifically used by mobile company Lonestar Cell MTN.
In a press conference yesterday in Monrovia, Bility said the LFA will petition legislators to create a bill that would make it difficult for any business to use the name LONE STAR, which he said represents Liberia as a nation and therefore should not be owned by any private company.
“Our consultations with both Houses suggest that they are in support to keep Liberia’s identity to itself and not to be used by any private company,” Bility said.
He said it is only in Liberia that a private company is allowed to use what represents the entire nation for its business interests.
Bility added, “How could a company use our national pride for its business? And it is important that we do not give the name to any business since there is no company that should have the right to use the name.”
“Cellcom GSM,” the current sponsor of the national team, he said “does not have perpetual sponsorship of the national football team; and therefore, it is necessary to create a situation in which the sponsor can be comfortable to display what it is sponsoring.”
In a related development, Bility said there are text messages reportedly from Lonestar MTN informing the public that Liberia’s crucial encounter against Togo is on June 3rd instead of the date of Sunday, June 5th.
A text message that is according to LFA being sent by Lonestar Cell MTN states: “Liberia plays Togo on June 3! Get the latest updates on the game & regular updates on the LFA national league. Text LPL to 2276 for 10c daily & 50c weekly.” The LFA said Lonestar Cell MTN does not have the authority to provide updates of the game and must stop immediately.
Bility said with the Lonestar Cell MTN action, it now makes it difficult for LFA and its sponsor, Cellcom GSM, to create information that is specifically geared towards the support of the game on Sunday.
“Lonestar Cell MTN cannot solicit money at the expense of the national team and therefore we are preparing a joint suit for US$1.5 million against Lonestar Cell MTN,” Bility noted.
Efforts to get an official of Lonestar Cell MTN to react on the LFA’s statement could not material as an official from Lonestar Cell MTN said the company will give appropriate response to the claim made by the Liberia Football Association this week.