Sierra Leone court orders Johansen to step down as row over SLFA control intensifies

August 21 – Sierra Leone may have more important issues to contend with than football following the devastating mudslide that has taken hundreds of lives but the battle to control the sport shows no sign of slowing down.

According to the BBC, an interim court injunction has temporarily prevented Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) president Isha Johansen  and three other executive committee members from continuing to run the country’s football affairs until their legitimacy to govern has been proved.

The Sierra Leone High Court granted the injunction at the request of a handful of SLFA members on the grounds that the mandate of Johansen, her two Vice Presidents – Brima Mazola Kamara and Alie Kargbo – and ex-officio member Alie Badara Tarawallie expired on  August 3.

The High Court ordered that one of the four regional chairmen in the SLFA’s executive committee – whose mandate remains valid – should be made a Vice President to temporarily run the affairs of the SLFA.

FIFA, which is supporting Johansen’s cause, is likely to take a dim view of such antics given its stance over government interference in footballing matters.

FIFA’s stance is that the current SLFA executive committee should remain in power until integrity checks are carried out on current and future officials pending elections. Those integrity checks, however spurious in concept and long time arriving, were agreed in a Memorandum of Understanding and signed off by, among others, Sierra Leone’s minister of sport Ahmed Khanou – a senior government official.

Although she insists she has waged war on corruption and that she is the victim of a collective effort to remove her, Johansen’s opponents take a very different view, saying she is clinging to power unlawfully and that imminent elections must take place by law to elect her successor now that her four-year term has ended. But FIFA, who are sending a delegation to Freetown next month, has indefinitely postponed any such electoral congress until the aforementioned integrity checks are completed.

FIFA has stopped short of putting in a normalisation committee, its usual action in cases when a president’s mandate has ended and no elections have been held. Ironically Johansen is a member of FIFA’s powerful members association committee that rules on the governance and potential actions FIFA takes against national federations.

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