Legal Action Awaits Liberia FA Over Illegal Suspension
Monrovia – The head of Liberia’s Under 23 national team, Thomas Kojo, has termed as “unlawful” decision by the Liberia.
Report by Christopher C. Walker [email protected]
Kojo said the decision by the FA is counterproductive to the development of soccer in the country.
It can be recalled the Liberia Football Association on Wednesday, November 8, 2017 announced via its Facebook page the indefinite suspension of coaches’ contract due to what the LFA termed as financial reasons.
The LFA also attributed its decision on Liberia’s absence from international competition until March 2018.
In the release issued by the LFA it said its action was taken in consultation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports, who is the owner of national teams.
The Ministry is yet to comment on the FA decision which has developed more questions than answers.
The Official Facebook page of the LFA reads: ”The Liberia Football Association has notified coaches of the various National Teams with a Letter for Suspension of their Contractual Services.
The LFA in separate letters to four coaches informed them of the immediate suspension of their contracts and assured said that the FA’s current liability to them that has to do with salaries owe them will be duly settled.
The football house assured the coaches that the suspension of their respective contract is in no way related to their performances as Head Coaches and Deputy Coach of the various national teams.
A release from the LFA said the action to suspend the contracts resulted from the fact that Liberia is not engage in any international competition until 2018 and difficulties in securing funding for the National Teams Programs.
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).
The LFA release said the body was deeply saddened that such circumstances have made the suspension of contractual services necessary.
“On behalf of the President, Vice President, Executive Committee and Secretariat of the Liberia Football Association (LFA), I want to thank you for the services you have rendered and express our hope for working together in 2018”, Deah stated in the letter to the four coaches.
“The LFA decision was taken in consultation with the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the coaches are assured that once active national teams engagements resumed they would be contacted.”
Following the information of the his contract suspension Thomas Kojo told a local Radio station Sky FM sports program that he is planning legal action against the Football house for what he considers as illegal suspension of their contracts.
He said “professionally it is not right to suspend the contract of a coach without consulting him especially when he is been owed for months by his employers.”
Kojo explained that he was the only coach among the four coaches to go it the LFA when a meeting was called by the Technical Director of the Football House where the news of their contracts suspension was reveal to him by CAF coach instructor Francis Tamba.
“when I got at the LFA coach Tamba told me he had a letter for me and my colleagues but opted to read the letter to me before delivering it to me and I listen to him after reading it I personally refuse to accept the letter on grounds that me and my colleague eight months arrears owed us by the FA needed to be settle before receiving such letter.”
“They did not give us any communication about when they will pay us after been indebted to us for ten months and they pay two months with the balance of eight months so how do they want us to take care of our families.”
“If they want to terminate our contracts of which we will go through legally, it’s no problem but they must give us our benefits.” Kojo asserted.
The former Mighty Barrolle winger told Sky Sports that he spoke with the technical director Henry Browne about their settlement and he Browne spoke with the treasurer at the LFA Jallah Corvah who in return consulted the acting President of the LFA Musa Shannon but both the acting President and the Treasurer did not give a specific date they will received their eight months’ salary something he said is unfortunate.
It can be recalled that the coaches have complained about their salary issue for months but to only receive two months out of their ten months’ salary owed them.
When asked what will be their next action if the LFA refuses to settle their arrears, Kojo responded: “At the moment I am seeking legal advice and will take it from there.”
“This country is a country of Law so if they do not address our concerns, we will take the matter to the court to look into it.”
The Four coaches were appointed to their respective positions in November of 2014 following the mutual agreement of the termination of Landi’s Contract.
It is believed that there is a portion in the coaches’ contract that calls for the suspension of coaches due to financial reasons and there must be a thirty days notice to both parties before it takes effect.
Legal Battle LFA lost Landi vs. LFA
The former coach of Liberia National Team Lone Star, It Roberto Landi is demanding a US$200,000 as settlement for a lawsuit he won against the Lone Star for his unlawful sacking.
In a press conference on May 15, 2016 LFA President Musa Bility said the former Italian coach won the case after his complain against the LFA to FIFA Disciplinary Committee after his dismissal in 2012.
Bility said the LFA has appealed to Coach Landi, through FIFA about Liberia’s inability to pay US$200,000. Landi received US$10,000 from the LFA in order to kick-off the negotiation
Rochel vs. LFA
Executive Committee member of the LFA Rochell Woodson in 2017 was expelled by Liberia Football Association from Executive committee for overstaying her maternity leave according to the FA but after she took her case to the Court for Arbitration of Sports (CAS) she won her appeal against the decision by the LFA at the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS)
The CSA order the LFA to reinstate her to the Executive Committee which has already been done and ordered the FA to as settling her costs and unpaid incentives.
The decision to expel EC Woodson was a proposal submitted by LISCR President Mustapha Raji who petition Congress to take action on the long absence of Rochell Woodson in keeping with article 47.2 of the LFA status that states any Executive Committee member who does not participate in four consecutive EC meetings should be replaced.
However, on January 2016 2017, she wrote a communication to the LFA general secretary that she was ready to resume her work but was told that the December Congress “resolutions were brought to have her expelled from the executive committee.
The Court for Arbitration of Sport also concluded that Madam Woodson has been excused for the full period of her maternity leave and that she had not in any case missed any executive meetings during that time and the ruling says that the LFA was not justified in making the decision, and that it did not accord with the process for in its statutes.
In respond to CAS decision, the LFA has accepted the decision to reinstate Madam Rochell Woodson as an EC member and repaid the legal fees used during the trial according to their official Facebook page.
“The Liberia Football Association has accepted the ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sports concerning former Executive Committee member Rochell Woodson, the LFA said.
CAS has ruled against the LFA in complaint filed by Ms. Woodson. The Executive Committee has received the ruling, reviewed it and as per the content of the ruling, she will be reinstated to the Executive Committee and the leadership of the LFA has no intention to take the matter forward and respects the decision of the court, the post revealed.