By Farayi Mungazi & Mohamed Fajah-Barrie, BBC Sport, Freetown
Fifa has demanded that the Sierra Leone government rescind its decision to disband the country’s football association (SLFA).
Football’s world body has given authorities in Freetown until Wednesday 16 December to comply with the directive or risk the country being banned from all international competition immediately.
It comes after the National Sports Council (NSC) announced the dissolution of the SLFA executive committee on Thursday.
“The decisions of the National Sports Council appear to amount to government interference in the internal affairs of the SLFA”
Markus KattnerActing Fifa Secretary General
The NSC said it had acted after the SLFA, led by Isha Johansen, dissolved a seven-man committee set up to identify delegates for the association’s next congress.
But Fifa demands that all football associations be independent and has acted swiftly, insisting on a halt to the NSC’s plans.
“The decisions of the National Sports Council appear to amount to government interference in the internal affairs of the SLFA,” acting Fifa secretary general Markus Kattner said in a letter to SLFA secretary general, Chris Kamara.
Kattner warned that unless the NSC backs down, the matter would be referred to Fifa’s Emergency Committee – a move that would almost certainly result in the suspension of the SLFA.
“We would like to underline the dire effects a suspension could have on Sierra Leone football.
“It would for instance mean that no team from Sierra Leone of any sort (including clubs) could have any international sporting contact,” said Kattner.