Alhagie Sillah, Mustapha Kebbeh and Seedy Kinteh

Alhagie Sillah, Mustapha Kebbeh and Seedy Kinteh

The disqualified Gambia football federation presidential candidate is reported to have threatened the Normalisation Committee with legal action.

Mustapha Kebbeh, the former football federation President, was ousted from office without completing his mandate. This followed the Gambia squad’s elimination from continental competition for fielding in over age players. The committee disqualified Mr. Kebbeh from competing in this month’s election, accusing him of being inefficient. GFF members are expected to elect a new executive on September 20th this year.

Mr. Kebbeh would not accept the committee’s decision without a fight. He has since instructed his lawyer to write to the Normalisation committee to meet certain conditions or faces legal suit.

“A letter from Lawyer Ida Drammeh,” according to Standard Newspaper, “requested the Normalisation Committee to retract certain statements given as reasons for his disqualification which he deemed borders on impairing his image among other things. Mr. Kebbeh also requested for the lifting of the ban on his candidature. Failing these, the letter stated that a legal suit could be filed against them.”

Officials of the Normalisation Committee would not comment on whether they have been written to or subpoenaed.

In a separate development, the former president of the Gambian Football Association (now Gambia Football Federation) has rubbished the reasons for elbowing him out of the federation’s election as “bogus, erroneous and misleading.” Seedy Kinteh said the Normalization Commission’s disqualification of his candidature was baseless and without merit. Mr. Kinteh, who was ousted from office without completing his term, was accused of being involved in a bribery scandal with regards to Qatar’s 2018 World Cup bid.

“In the run up to the 2014 Gambia Football Federation (GFF) Presidential Election, I filed in my nomination for candidature to the office of President. The Normalisation Committee of the GFF vetted my nomination, and eventually said it has disqualified my candidature due to reasons they said have to do with my involvement in the alleged receiving of money from the Qatari Muhammed Bin Hammam,” Mr. Kinteh wrote in a statement released to the media.

Kinteh said his relationship with Muhammed Bin Hammam started back in 2001, when he was serving as the second vice president of the Gambia Football Association, during a CAF General Assembly meeting. “We knew each other as colleagues and friends, and have been exchanging ideas and meeting at FIFA and CAF forums for the development of our respective countries with the FIFA development officer in our region,” he said.

“Having known him for his visionary ideas in football, hence his position as chairman of the FIFA Goal Project, since 2005 when I first became the President of GFA, Gambia benefited a lot from FIFA Goal Projects through his approval as the chairman of the FIFA Goal Project e.g. the new two-storey building GFA Football House and two new artificial turfs at Brikama and Yundum respectively.

In 2002, Bin Hammam awarded the Gambia to build a National Training Centre at Yundum. Kinteh invited Bin Hammam to the Gambia to the West African Football Union General Assembly.

Kinteh said as a non-executive member of FIFA, he has no voting right to influence the outcome in exchange for favours, as wrongly interpreted by the GFF Normalization Committee, for the Qatar World Cup bid.

“My personal relationship with Muhammed Bin Hammam is still very strong, as we often speak to each other up to date. Let me reveal to you that Muhammed Bin Hammam had personally invited me on several occasions to Qatar and Doha, the last one was when he invited me to spend the Tobaski (Eid-U-Adha) with him and his family (see the photo taken on the day of the Tobaski at Muhammed Bin Hammam’s residence in Doha), and that has further cemented our relationship.

I have never received any money from Muhammed Bin Hammam for the influence of voting in his favour. The Qatari man has always been my personal friend, and any time I need his support I always send him a request to assist me personally, and will never hesitate to assist when the need arises.

I must express my dismay and disappointment with the Committee Members of the GFF Normalisation Committee, for addressing my disqualification on the wrong and erroneous belief that money has been given to me in exchange for FIFA votes, which has been one of their reasons for turning down my nomination for the position of GFF President.

I guess this clarification will once again set the records right to the Normalization Committee, football stakeholders and the general public. I will never betray Muhammed Bin Hammam for his support to the FIFA Goal Project in The Gambia has shown that there is a good relationship between The Gambia and Qatar.”

Ends

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