What Lesson from Bility FIFA Rejection?

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Businessman Musa Hassan Bility, President of the Liberia Football Association is a man who loves controversy. He is a man who believes that no one should determine how far you can fly, even if you don’t have wings.

Consider his recent attempt to contest for the forthcoming FIFA presidency! From the word go, Bility knew that he would have some questions to answer for his past. He knew that for some obvious reasons when he launched a campaign against Issa Hayatou, President of the African Football Confederation, (CAF) and questioned his attempt to keep himself in power, he had broached an ethical issue that the old man felt insulted.

When Bility used what was described as ‘confidential’ information from CAF’s Executive Committee that he was not supposed to have used he was suspended for six months because he broached a ‘confidential issue.’ So for Bility to expose a ‘confidential issue’ he fell into the issue of ‘integrity,’ as far as CAF was concerned. The point is, he was supposed to keep the ‘confidential issue’ confidential but he did not.

The FIFA Adhoc Committee defined integrity check, by stating: “The integrity check included a review of corporate records, litigation cases, bankruptcy proceedings, potential regulatory actions taken against the candidate and a review of media reports concerning potential red flags (fraudulent behavior, match manipulation, human rights violations, etc.).

As stated above, FIFA clearly stated what involved in integrity check which Mr. Bility should have first of all be aware of. However he indicated to local journalists when he was asked about it that he did not know what the committee was talking about.

Did Bility not really know or he chose to ignore the fact of what the Committee meant by integrity check? Since he has been president for the LFA for nearly five years, did he really not know what is involved in FIFA integrity check?
The point is, if Mr. Bility is aware of what FIFA’s Adhoc Elections Committee would be looking for during such an exercise, and since he is also aware of his recent corporate legal battles then of course he deliberately overlooked the fact about the odds against him in qualifying to contest the FIFA elections.

Or because he was so passionate about his involvement in the FIFA elections, he apparently did not think that the Adhoc Committee would be looking for information about his business dealings in Liberia? It would have helped him greatly if someone with better knowledge of how things work in FIFA and CAF to have provided him with the advice that he should have known in the first place. I suggest he must check his advisers who encouraged him to join the race, despite what he had been involved and could not have allowed him to qualify for a post that had been already tainted.

He should also have known that once he has had legal issues at home and with the issue of corruption in Liberia flying all over the place, he could have become a victim simply because of that. Is it not a fact that many Liberians have suffered abroad because of Ebola stigma?

I know Mr. Bility will put the issue of FIFA presidency behind him, though I hear he wants to fight the case, the lesson here is that due diligence is important if, and only if there is an opportunity for any Liberian to contest for an international office in the future.

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