Bility Fears FIFA Elections Over Integrity Checks As CAF Elects Two Reps
Monrovia – Liberia Football Association (LFA) President Musa Hassan Bility will not contest any FIFA related-elections due to an improved integrity checks that candidates must undergo.
Report by Danesius Marteh, [email protected]
Bility was barred from contesting February’s FIFA Presidential elections after he failed the integrity checks in November 2015 over a Liberian tax evasion case, a Confederation of African Football (CAF) 2013 ban and fine and a Liberian grand jury indictment for economic sabotage in August 2013 along with Ellen Corkrum and fiancé Melvin Johnson among others.
He challenged his exclusion by an adhoc FIFA electoral committee at the Court of Arbitration for Sports but was unsuccessfully on December 31, 2015.
On Thursday, CAF will elect two new members to represent it on the expanded FIFA Council in Cairo, Egypt but Bility is not one of seven candidates.
The FIFA Council (then known as FIFA executive committee) has been significantly expanded as part of reforms introduced by President Gianni Infantino.
Those expected to contest are CAF first vice President Suketu Patel of Seychelles and CAF second vice President Almamy Kabele Camara of Guinea.
Others are CAF executive committee members Kwesi Nyantakyi, who is also Ghana Football Association President and Ahmad, who is also Malagasy Football Federation President.
The rest are Senegal Football Federation President Augustin Senghor, Niger Football Federation President Djibril Hima Hamidou and South Sudan Football Association President Chabur Goc Alei.
All candidates will face integrity checks in keeping with article 27 of the 2016 FIFA statutes, which will be conducted by the Review Committee in accordance with the FIFA Governance Regulations, before their names will be confirmed for the ballot at CAF extraordinary congress.
Contacted via email on September 21 about his participation, Bility told FrontPageAfrica: “I’m not running.”
When asked why he’s not contesting given his much-publicized contribution to the election of Infantino, Bility said:
“We have a candidate that I helped to select. It doesn’t have to always be me. That’s called selflessness.”
When asked who the candidate is and whether his decision to not contest is premised on the improved integrity checks, Bility said: “Before, would act alone and speak aloud. Now I speak a lot more than myself. This means different approach.”
“You will hear it in the international [media] when we assemble in Egypt starting this weekend. Our group chose the GFA [Ghana Football Association] President as one of two people we will vote for.”
“We are currently negotiating with the French or Arab/Portuguese to consolidate behind a single slate of candidates during the elections. I’ve just appointed a special committee headed by the President of Zimbabwe FA [Philip Chiyangwa] and [it] includes the Presidents of GFA, NFF [Nigeria Football Federation], South Sudan, Uganda and Malawi.”
Bility is an ambitious person and has contested every footballing election since his ascendency as LFA President on March 27, 2010.
On August 13, 2011, Bility was elected second vice President of West African Football Union (Wafu) Zone “A” at an extraordinary congress in Accra, Ghana.
On May 16, 2011, Wafu was disbanded into Zones “A” and “B” by CAF executive committee in Cairo following a three-year suspension of then President Amos Adamu of Nigeria from football for allegedly seeking bribes during the 2018 and 2022 World Cups bidding and “considering the organizational issues” that faced Wafu.
On March 10, 2013, Bility contested but miserably lost the CAF executive committee elections in Marrakech, Morocco.
On February 17, 2016, Bility was elected as Wafu Zone “A” first vice President at the Novotel Hotel in Dakar, Senegal during its congress.
Zone “A” encompasses Cape Verde, Gambia, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone while Zone “B” features Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.
When Infantino visited Nigeria from July 24-26 to meet African football association President, Bility disclosed his election as President of Anglophone countries in CAF.
“[It is] truly an honor to have been elected chair of football in Anglophone [Africa]. I am a proud Liberian and will continue to work to show what is possible,” Bility wrote on his Facebook page on July 30, which was widely published and broadcast by Liberian media.
Bility has been doing everything to improve his international image and rating but can’t contest Thursday’s election over improved integrity checks.
The Cairo meeting will also pass a new set of statutes as part of the FIFA reform process.
The 36-member FIFA Council will hold its first meeting in Zurich from October 13-14 as it replaces the tarnished 24-member executive committee and takes responsibility for setting the overall strategic direction of world football’s governing body.
FIFA has been in turmoil after a wave of indictments of football officials in the United States last year, including former members of its executive committee, on corruption-related charges.
Such an expansive field of candidates for just two seats is a departure from previous contests to decide Africa’s representation on the all-powerful FIFA executive.
In the past, the contests have been painstakingly choreographed by long-standing CAF President Issa Hayatou.
With Hayatou’s own future uncertain after almost three decades at the helm of African football, he appears to have allowed his lieutenants to battle it out among themselves for the posts.
The luck two will sit on the FIFA Council until another round of elections take place at the CAF congress in Addis Ababa on March 17, 2017.
November 12, 2015
Mr. Musa Hassan Bility
Election for the office of FIFA President in 2016; Your candidature
The FIFA Ad-hoc Electoral Committee received your candidature for the office of FIFA President, which was submitted in due time and form.
Thereupon, and as provided by article 8 par. 1 (e) of the Electoral Regulations for the FIFA Presidency (hereinafter: Electoral Regulations), the Committee instructed the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee to carry out an integrity check.
In this context, you provided the Investigatory Chamber with a completed self-declaration of integrity. Such self-declaration was forwarded to the FIFA Ad-hoc Electoral Committee by the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee.
In addition, the Investigatory Chamber of the FIFA Ethics Committee also forwarded to the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee information concerning any ongoing or past criminal proceedings (and reasons for dismissal, if applicable) and a detailed report prepared by an independent international investigative services company, which focused on identifying risk- relevant information relating to the subjects, including any legal, regulatory, financial, and ethical or other potential issues. You were also provided with this report and submitted your statement to the report on 5 November 2015.
The FIFA Ad-hoc Electoral Committee has the duty of deciding on the admission of your candidature (cf. art. 8 par. 1 (d) of the Electoral Regulations). In this respect, the FIFA Ad-hoc Electoral Committee took note of the above-mentioned documentation provided by the Investigatory Chamber.
In particular, the Committee took note of your statement that you had not previously been convicted by a final decision of any intentional indictable offence or of any offence corresponding to a violation of the rules of conduct set out in part II section 5 of the FIFA Code of Ethics and that you were never convicted by any sport’s governing body.
You added that a suspension pronounced by the Confédération Africaine de Football (CAF) was inconsistent with the FIFA Code of Ethics and predicated upon an act of the Liberia Football Association.
However, according to the above-mentioned report, you were involved in several legal proceedings before state authorities as well as before a sport’s governing body.
In particular, the Committee took note of a conviction of your company for tax evasion. You yourself were also banned for six months by CAF for an infringement of confidentiality obligations.
In addition, the Committee took note of a criminal indictment which was dismissed on the grounds that the Government had failed to proceed with the prosecution for two consecutive terms of court as well as of various civil proceedings, of which at least two ended, according to the aforementioned report, in default judgments.
Based on these findings and in particular the multitude of proceedings that were led against you (and of which some resulted in convictions or other decisions by state authorities and sports governing bodies), the Committee came to the conclusion and decided that you cannot be admitted as a candidate for the election for the office of FIFA President in 2016.
Thank you for taking note of the above.
Yours sincerely, FIFA
Chairman of the Ad-hoc Electoral Committee
Fédération Internationale de Football Association – FIFA
P.O. Box 8044
T: +41 (0)43 222 7777 F: +41 (0)43 222 7878