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Sierra Leone dispute threatens Fifa ban

Sierra Leone dispute threatens Fifa ban

Sierra Leone could face a ban from international football, imposed by the game’s world governing body FIFA, in a dispute over government interference.

The country’s football league was postponed by the sports ministry last week following a crisis meeting convened by the government, and FIFA threatened action in response.

Sports Minister Paul Kamara then lifted the delay on the league, but the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) is still pressing for sanctions to be imposed.

The SLFA want a promise from the ministry not to intervene in the future.

But the ministry believes the suspension of the league was decided by the clubs involved.

“We believe in the power of the clubs and the suspension came from collective decisions [of] the Premier League clubs,” Sports Minister Paul Kamara told the BBC, before the decision was reversed.

And he attacked FIFA’s blanket ban on government involvement in the running of football.

“They must respect us because we are financing football and we have our laws, which state that we control, surpervise, develop and organise all sporting disciplines.”

The BBC has asked FIFA for a comment but has not yet had a response.

The relationship between the SLFA and the sports ministry have frequently been difficult but have deteriorated in recent months, with a long-running dispute over who should appoint the coach of the national team.

Seperately, the SLFA had its offices locked in a row over unpaid bills on Wednesday, but subsequently won a court order forcing the authorities to re-open their headquarters.

By Mohamed Fajah Barrie, BBC Sport, Freetown

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