|GFA chairperson Alhagie Omar Sey says those who voted against the Constitution will be disenfranchised in the June 29, 2013 GFA presidential election (Photo credit: B.B. Baldeh/GFA/Facebook)|
The new Draft Constitution of The Gambia Football Association (GFA) was adopted on Saturday amid seemingly endless arguments as to who is eligible or ineligible to vote.
During the 13 April, 2013 adoptive congress held at the Friendship Hostel in Bakau, GFA delegates voted 27 to 20 to finally adopt the new constitution. One voter abstained from voting and five eligible voters didn’t turn-up at all.
There have been conspicuous differences as to how Gambian football should be run ever since the Government sack the FA Committee on March 2, 2012. Football stakeholders have shown they cannot agree on anything tangible.
A December 12, 2012 adoptive congress by the tiny West African country’s football governing body on the new constitution was labeled “biased” and “unrealistic” by FIFA, football’s world governing body.
Local journalists said delegates were involved in “serious arguments” before ballots were cast involving those disenfranchised. GFA chairperson Alhagie Omar Sey said only the 27 delegates who voted yes to the constitution will be allowed to vote in a June 29 executive election.
But, observers say this will breed a new ground for endless arguements, acusations and counter-accusations. The country's football progress is at a standstill, The North Bank Evening Standard, is told.
The new Constitution will be forwarded to FIFA for review, and the Zurich-based football body is expected to give its approval this time. Its representative to the Congress Premo Calvaho, a legal expert, was satisfied with the outcome but says there is room for improvement.
Disenfranchised, Samba Baldeh, a representative of Waterman Football Club, Upper River Region described as “bizarre” the decision not to allow him to cast his ballot.
“This is unacceptable because we have been participating in GFA-organised competitions for the past years, and for that been the case, I see no reason why we should not vote,” he said.
It is unfair that we are denied our right to vote, Waterman is a well established football club and has contributed a lot to Gambian football, says Lamin Jawara, the club’s secretary general.
Some of those denied voting rights had been allowed to vote in the first adoptive congress, but after FIFA rejected that constitution, it ask the FA to review its statues and ensure only delegates from clubs that play regular football under the GFA are allowed to vote in Saturday’s congress.
Central River Region (CRR) sports committee secretary general, Musa Fatty, was also disenfranchised.
He told local journalists that “what doubts me is that the Governor of CRR was told to select people to represent the region instead of the CRR Sport Committee”.
“This is unacceptable. How can you expect somebody who did not know anything about football to represent a region in such an important congress that holds the future of football in The Gambia,” he asked.
“If FIFA decided to approve the new constitution the country will be divided into two parts,” he prophesized.
Written by Modou S. Joof
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