The Liberia Football Association (LFA) has sent an official communication to Paynesville-based Stages FC, confirming their relegation to the 3rd division championship, but the club have vowed not to honor the letter.
Stages are unhappy that their case before the Appeal Committee of the football association has not been adequately adjudicated, something that club president Chris Weah described as “procedural error.”
Addressing a news conference over the weekend in Paynesville, club president Weah said his club cannot be issued a relegation letter, while an appeal from his club is still before the LFA unaddressed.
He made it known that the communication from LFA’s Secretary General, Isaac Montgomery, would not be honored by the club, until the appeal committee can look into their case.
Stages FC suffered a seven-point deduction for fielding illegal players in a couple of league matches, according to the FA’s record.
But according to Weah, records provided by the FA do not match the club’s records.
“Notifying clubs at the end of the league season that they were in violation of the rules demonstrates a high level of procedural error.
“No club filed a complaint against Stages FC before the football house started to intervene.
“Stages FC will never be relegated because there is another process after that. We are waiting for the verdict from the hearing from the Independent appeal committee,” Weah said.
In another development, Stages FC disclosed that they have written to the world football governing body, FIFA, expressing a number of concerns and have also decided to file in a complaint to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) to nullify the just ended league season due to irregularities and match-fixing.
“We are going to take the Raji’s administration to CAS to set our football record straight and to right the wrongs in Liberian football.
“We have exhausted all of the processes established by the LFA in terms of grievance and appeal; we have exhausted that. When the ruling comes from the appeal committee we will go to CAS,” Weah added.
“We are not going to CAS because Stages FC got points deducted; we are going so the league can be nullified based on irregularities and match-fixing.”
LFA on July 2 issued a release, nullifying the award for the highest goalscorer from its awards gala on 28 August.
The LFA in its release said the decision followed a June 5 ruling by the Grievance and Disciplinary Committee (GDC).
Augustine Otu of Watanga FC finished the Orange first division with 22 goals, two more than Terry Sackor of LPRC Oilers.
Otu and Sackor scored seven goals apiece on the final day of the season on 29 May, when Watanga defeated Small Town 10-6 at the SKD practice pitch in Paynesville, while LPRC Oilers thrashed Nimba FC 9-0 at the Gompa sports pitch in Ganta, Nimba County, to retain the championship.
“But the grievance committee found out that no player in the history of the LFA competing for the highest goal scorer award has scored seven goals in a match.
It recommended that the award should be nullified because the form and manner of the goals scored creates doubts and clearly manifests that the goals were manipulated against the spirit and intent of fair play,” the release from the FA stated.
Stages FC president Weah believes that the nullification of the highest goal scorer award by LFA, indicates that the football house has agreed to match-fixing and match manipulation within the league.
This recent decision by the FA has also been greeted by a mountain of criticisms, with others calling for Oilers to be stripped of the league title because the result from the match in question gave them the award.