The organizing committee of the Mexican Organizing Committee and the WAFF Executive Committee have voted to withdraw their invitations to Africa Amputee Champions, Lone Stars, from participating in the November, 2014 World Cup.
In a letter to Liberia’s Amputee’s International Coordinator Duannah Siryon in Minnesota, USA, a copy of which he copied to this paper, the President of the World Amputee Federation, Mr. Rick Hoffman said also withdrawn participation is the Sierra Leonean Amputee national team.
Hoffman said, “The background to that decision included, but was not limited to the actions of the Liberian and Sierra Leonean governments, and increasingly urgent warnings from the World Health Organization and the United Nations.
“Clearly the situation in West Africa is many times worse than it was when, for health reasons we mutually decided to postpone the Liberia – USA friendly in August.”
He added: “The Mexican Organizing Committee was apparently under increasingly intense pressure from both inside its organization and from outside interests. Russia was extremely forceful in its opposition.
“In fairness, though, a large number of Federation teams informed me of their decision not to play against either team if they attended the World Cup. Clearly the fear factor is very high.
“Duannah, this is an extremely sad, difficult situation, one which we’ve never faced before. I understand the intense desire to play in the World Cup – and the loss of the African Continental champions will be sorely missed.
“But Mexico and the Executive committee decided for the sake of the players and staff of all nations, we could not allow the event the slightest risk.
“We’re all saddened by having to make this decision. We all look forward to playing Liberia and Sierra Leone once the current crisis has passed.
“I’ll forward you a copy of the message I sent both countries earlier today. I look forward to working with you and Liberia again in the future,” Hofmann, President World Amputee Football Federation, concluded in his letter.
Hofmann’s letter followed an earlier letter by Mr. Sayon requesting the WAFF to allow African Champions, Liberia to participate in the tournament, explaining necessary measures in place in Liberia to ensure that athletes are Ebola free.
Meanwhile, a spokesman of the Liberia Amputee Football & Sports Association, LAFASA, in reaction yesterday told the Daily Observer that while the decision to withdraw Liberia’s invitation is unfortunate, they can understand the fears of other teams, due to the nature of the Ebola virus disease.
“We are hoping that after we have been successfully in our fight against the disease, further opportunities could come for us to rejoin the world sporting community,” he said.