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Johansen clings on to Sierra Leone rule as court rules for integrity checks

Isha Johansen

August 29 – Opponents of embattled Sierra Leone Football Association president Isha Johansen appear to have lost the latest stage of their legal battle over who controls the game.

Last week, an interim court injunction temporarily prevented 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 number 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.

FIFA is supporting Johansen’s cause, insisting 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.

According to local reports, the High Court has now ruled that the FIFA directive to extend the mandate of the SLFA Executive stands and that integrity checks must go ahead.

The latest ruling will only serve to fuel an increasingly acrimonious split between Johansen, Africa’s only female FA president, and those who claim she has “no legal authority to administer the affairs of the SLFA”.  It also heightens tensions ahead of a proposed FIFA inspection visit in mid-September to vet credentials of would-be successors and pave the way for elections.

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