LFA Discloses Partnership With UEFA – 10,000 Footballs Promised
Monrovia – The 2016 European championship has come and gone and the Liberia Football Association (LFA) has some positive news to report.
Report by Danesius Marteh, [email protected]
LFA President Musa Bility was in Paris to watch the grand finale between France and Portugal and his photo has gone viral on Facebook to silence the doubting Thomases.
A July 10 FA release posted on its official Facebook page said Liberia has been included among African countries that will benefit from a mentoring program between the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and Confederation of African Football (CAF).
Bility is said to have attended the collaboration meeting between UEFA and CAF where, among other things, 10,000 footballs were promised to each CAF member while countries such as Nigeria and Egypt, with large population, will benefit more.
“We are just beginning the process and hopefully in conjunction with UEFA and FIFA, we will establish the mentoring countries for each of the member association in Africa,” said Bility in an exclusive interview with LFA communications consultant Horatio Bobby Willie, which was also posted on Facebook on July 10.
Under the program, coaches, administrators and technicians are expected to go for interactive sessions to Europe for the sole purpose of understanding and learning how football is being managed.
Upon their return, beneficiaries will be expected to impact football development through knowledge sharing and technical training in their respective countries.
But the the authenticity of the FA’s release hasn’t been independently verified with UEFA given their history of engaging in mere publicity stunts to impress Liberians.
On March 2, the LFA announced the arrival of “a high-powered two-man UEFA delegation that was due in Monrovia for a visit from March 22–23 to discuss cooperation”.
The delegation was to be headed by UEFA acting secretary-general Theodore Theodoridis and integrity officer Urs Kluser of the legal affairs and disciplinary services.
Willie, who authored the release, asserted that the visit followed discussions Bility held with FIFA President Gianni Infantino on the margins of the FIFA congress in Zurich, Switzerland in February.
“Bility reportedly played an influential role in deciding the outcome of the Presidential polls,” Willie wrote.
When questions were raised about the veracity of the information, the LFA didn’t hesitate to announce the cancelation of the visit due “to the coordinated terrorist attacks that killed 31 people and injured 300 more in Brussels, Belgium” on March 22.
But UEFA is headquartered in Nyon, Switzerland and Belgium, who were directly victimized, move a planned international friendly with Portugal from Brussels to Leiria in Portugal.
“I met the same people that should’ve come here. We are trying to put together a good program for Liberia where we will get footballs, logistics and technical assistance from UEFA to Liberia,” said Bility in a renewed assurance.
He said the partnership will see an exchange in marketing, administration, officiating, media and publicity and stadium management among others.
“UEFA is also giving-up its portion of the FAP [financial assistance program from FIFA] which is US$250,000. That will come to Africa. So Africa will get US$500, 000,” Bility added.
Despite Bility’s professed connection and or influence, Infantino is yet to visit Liberia as he intends to meet senior football association leaders from across Africa on a two-day working visit to Nigeria.
The Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) said on Monday Infantino will arrive in Abjua on 24 July and will meet “a legion of African FA Presidents”.
Infantino will be accompanied by FIFA secretary-general Fatma Samoura. NFF President Amaju Pinnick met Infantino for talks in Paris on July 10.
“The FIFA President and secretary-general will arrive in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, on Sunday 24th July on a two-day working visit to Nigeria,” Pinnick said on the NFF website.
The statement said the FIFA officials will meet Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari and hold a meeting “with a legion of African FA Presidents, who are expected in Nigeria” at the same time.
Nigeria is seen as one of the giants of African football even though the Super Eagles failed to qualify for the Africa Cup of Nations finals for the second time in succession.
The NFF has been dogged by factional disputes over its leadership and FIFA has threatened Nigeria with suspension from international competition because of irregularities in the leadership voting process.