On Sunday, July 27, 2014, the Liberia Football Association suspended all football activities in an effort to prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in support of government’s initiative.
Five months later, with the help of international communities, foreign countries as well as the government and people of Liberia, Ebola infections have radically reduced, which of course encouraged CAF to lift football activities in February.
The LFA has therefore announced the execution of CAF Licensing Club System and kickoff of the 2015 National League, on Sunday, March 15.
Secretary General Alphonso Armah repeatedly and categorically stressed that the LFA League would officially kick-off as scheduled, at designated football fields in and out of Monrovia.
Mr. Armah told the Daily Observer yesterday in an exclusive interview that clubs who have responded to the CAF Club Licensing System will be notified prior to the commencement of the national league and subsequently be included in the fixture.
“In accordance to CAF Club Licensing System, we have informed all club officials that in order to have a youth team, they must have in place football development program, office space, a training ground, a general manager, secretarial structure and a financial structure that will prove to the FA that indeed they are ready to manage a football team amongst,” said Armah.
The LFA official re-emphasized that failure on the part of any team to meet these requirements; the team would be relegated for the LFA to avoid facing serious punishment from the world football governing body FIFA.
“The LFA is urging club officials to meet these requirements for the improvement of the game and for us to be in line with FIFA standard, so it should be the obligation of every club official to work along with us,” he said and paid tribute to club officials that continue to work in line with the LFA.
First division clubs LISCR FC and FC BYC are calling for the LFA to step-up its Marketing Committee to encourage business entities to support football clubs amidst the hardship, owing to the Ebola virus, which has affected the economy.
Mustapha Raji and Sekou Konneh argued that there are three cream of officials at the LFA that would be of greater good to the clubs; they include Dee Maxwell Kamanyan (President, Liberia Business Association), Ciatta Bishop (Executive Director, National Bureau of Concession) and D. Sheba Brown (a senior officer at the Central Bank of Liberia.)
They duo are also arguing that the LFA can also be a help to the clubs by slicing some of the FIFA World Cup bonus to member countries, in the amount of about US$1m.
Further, they said, their portion from the FIFA Financial Assistant Program (FAP) of about US$750,000.00 could also be given to the clubs as preparation fees amidst these tough times.
But, Chief Scribe Armah clarified that the funds are intended to construct the headquarters of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), of which a land has already been purchased.
Armah said the LFA’s Executive Committee is taken aback because the stakeholders were officially informed at the recent congress on the erection of the LFA’s house, which would be named in honor of Senator George M. Weah.
Interestingly, with 12 days to the kick-off of the National Football League, there isn’t any fixture up to now, to light the hope of club managers and players as well as fans.
The LFA chief scribe said, the fixture would be concluded this week, but reports say the winding-up of the fixture depend on ‘majority registration’ of clubs in the league.
Preparation of Fields
The only largest football field, managed by LFA — the Antoinette Tubman Stadium is yet still under renovation.
Technicians say the field is about 60% completed and they need at least three weeks to reach 70% to be usable for football games.
The seat around the field and the wire fence, including bathrooms, players’ and referees’ dressing rooms need serious fixing.
This means, if the LFA forces the kick-off, most of the 1st division games would be played either at low-level pitches such as Blue Field, D. Twe, Tusafield and the Nancy Doe Sports Stadium in Kakata.
Reports gathered say some clubs are pushing for the holding of congress before the tournament to be knowledgeable about administrative and financial activities in 2014, before the next 2015 budget.
According to the LFA’s statute, congress is usually held every March and it is the highest making body of the LFA. Last year’s congress was postponed owing to administrative reasons and was finally postponed owing to the outbreak of the deadly Ebola Virus Disease (EVD).
Deferment of CAF’s Club Licensing System
The clubs, amongst issues are pushing for the postponement of the CAF Club Licensing system amidst the collapsed of the economy because of the Ebola Virus, and believed that CAF would reasonably understand.
The clubs indicated that at least by 2016 with the recovery of the economy, they could be compelled to adhere to the CAF regulations.