By Paul Nicholson
July 14 – Controversial Liberian FA president Musa Bility (pictured), a member of the Confederation of African Football executive committee, is under renewed allegations from stakeholders in his own federation who claim that he is “embezzling” funds from the federation and FIFA grant money.
Rochell Woodson, a former Liberian FA executive committee member, has written to FIFA general secretary Fatma Samoura complaining about Liberian FA corruption “which ranges from misuse of entrusted funds, misapplication of FFP and equipment provided last year (2016), to the LFA for the implementation of a youth league and womens football program, and lack of leadership for the development of football in Liberia.”
Woodson says that Bility’s involvement in national politics has co-incided with a decline in Liberian football despite the federation having received “huge funding” from FIFA.
“The callous act on the part of the leadership of the LFA to continuously embezzle finds from FIFA intended to benefit the Liberian people through football development – without impunity – is very unfortunate,” she says.
Bility is not just under fire from football stakeholders in Liberia. Reports in African newspapers name him as one of 26 prominent Liberian politicians who international human rights organisations are calling to be prosecuted for economic crimes in the country. Bility is already battling other court proceedings against him – not for the first time.
It is not the first time either that Woodson has brought allegations against the LFA and Bility. In March Bility was accused of misappropriating FIFA financial assistance money of more than $1 million. Amongst a raft of claims of financial embezzlement, he was accused of taking $50,000 of Ebola relief money sent to the Liberian FA and sharing it between committee members. A request for a forensic audit of the Liberian FA accounts from 2010 was made to Samoura.
Woodson has previously served as co-chair on the LFA finance committee as well as in the past having served on FIFA’s Committee for Women’s Football and the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
In her latest letter Woodson complains in particular about the lack of promised assistance for women’s football that she says has been sent FIFA funding but which has never made it into the women’s game which suffers from “substandard fields, referees not showing up for games due to LFA not paying their match indemnities, no match commissioner present and the LFA’s failure to provide prize money for women champions at the end of the league…”
She also says that promised equipment and funds from FIFA’s grant aid never made it to the women’s game. So dire is the situation within the LFA that a number of executives have gone months unpaid and the women’s football co-ordinator has been unpaid for a year.
Woodson’s letter says: “We do not want to out rightly accuse FIFA’s president acquiescence to Bility’s mishandling of Liberia’s Football Programs, but the global body’s silence seems to support Bility’s claims that he is a friend of Mr Gianni Infantino and thus, nothing can be done to him. This however speaks against FIFA’s stance on integrity in football.
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