Liberia Football Association Appeals to Coaches Amid Lawsuit Threat
Monrovia – Amidst the suspension of the national team coaches’ contracts without settling their eight months arrears, the Liberia football house says their decision was taken in the interest of football and the coaches.
Report by Christopher C. Walker – c[email protected]
The LFA claimed their decision was based on financial reasons and the country’s absence from international competition until March of 2018, something the FA vice President for administration Musa Shannon feels was a hard decision to take but was necessary to save the Liberian FA from further debt.
After the decision of the LFA on November 8, 2017, Liberia’s Under 23 head coach Thomas Kojo, one of the four coaches affected by the suspension, said the decision was illegal and he’s planning a lawsuit against the LFA for suspending him and his colleagues without paying them their eight months’ salary owed them.
The football house was indebted to the coaches for ten months and paid them two initially indebted to the coaches 10 months, but managed to pay for two months, leaving the rest of the eight months in limbo.
Speaking to FrontPage Africa in an exclusive interview, LFA acting President Musa Shannon said he takes full responsibility of the decision taken by the LFA.
“We are in a very difficult situation. I understand the position of the coaches; if they are uncomfortable with the decision of the LFA, the highest body of Liberian Football has been left without no alternative but to take a decision that will protect the institution financially.”
According to him, the LFA was running into arrears with the coaches for a long period and if they continued the debt could increase to a point that it could not be paid by the LFA.
He also attributed the LFA decision to the current political situation in the country and feared that those in charge at the Ministry of Youth and Sports may not be in power when the next government takes office.
This, he said, could make the situation worse.
“Liberia does not participate in matches until next year March we thought it wise that with a five month gap we will accumulate an amount we may not be able to pay”.
Shannon disclosed that the football house along with the Youth and Sports Ministry owe the coaches more than US$10,000 which could increase to US$180,000, if the coaches contracts were not to be suspended.
The LFA acting President said they have not been able to get the needed support from the Ministry of Youth and Sports to cater to the coaches’ salaries.
“I ask them to be peaceful and professional and let’s go through the struggle and hope there will be a better day,” he appealed.
When asked about Kojo’s plans to take the football house to court, Shannon said it is not the best way to solve the problem, noting that the aggrieved coaches should desist from the intention.
“ I am not afraid of going to court, what I am afraid of is to do something illegal that will be against the coaches and the LFA which I have not done; all I did was to help save Liberian Football”.
“ I understand Mr. Kojo’s position if he feels that taking a legal approach is the best way for him, I will advise him let’s come on the table and see the way forward so we can get their money to pay,” The former Liberian Striker said.
Shannon admitted that getting coaches’ salaries at the football house has always been very difficult as this wasn’t the first instance.
He recalled former national team coach Roberto Landi when he took the LFA to FIFA for terminating his contract, a case the FA lost and had to fully settle Landi before appointing James Debbah as head coach of Liberia national team.
Shannon told FrontPage Africa that even though he wants Kojo and his colleagues to be tolerant, he does not know when the LFA will settle their arrears.
He also reassured the coaches that their contract was only suspended and not terminated as it is been said in many quarters of the country.
The LFA acting President said once the national team in March approaches the coaches will be called to start job.
Coaches affected are James Salinsa Debbah (Head Coach Liberia National Team), Thomas Kojo (Head Coach- Liberia U-23 National Team), Christopher Wreh (Head Coach- Liberia U-20 National Team) and Janjay Jacobs (Deputy Head Coach- Liberia U-23 National Team).