During the past 3 weeks, new major epidemic foci of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), some without traceable origin, have been identified and are rapidly expanding in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East, with the first confirmed cases being identified in African and Latin American countries.
The outbreak of the pandemic has led to the suspension of major sporting events especially football in particular around the globe, with Liberia being no exception. The Liberia Football Association on March 17 announced the suspension of all football activities; following the confirmation of COVID19 in the country with no propose date insight.
The shocking news that hit stakeholders was to receive notification of congress date set on 23 May, despite in line with the statues of the FA, one wonders if it meets best international practice with the huge national focus on preventing widespread of the deadly virus in the country, Liberia Sports Online checks can confirm a mixed reaction.In a release sited on the official social media [Facebook] of the local FA. The release date 23rd March said The Liberia Football Association (LFA) will hold its 24th Ordinary Congress at the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) on 23 May at 9:00 AM.
It further informed the all stakeholders on 21 March 2020 that LFA Secretary-General Isaac Montgomery said the congress is in keeping with article 34 of July 23, 2018, LFA revised statutes. Stating that Article 34.1 says “an ordinary congress shall be held once every year” while article 34.3 says “the executive committee shall fix the place and date and the members shall be notified in writing at least 60 days in advance”. And concludes that the holding of the congress also depends on an improved situation in the fight against the global coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in keeping with a declaration from the government and World Health Organization (WHO).
In other countries, the FA office has been closed to all forms of business of football due to the global ban on footballing activities by FIFA, but in Liberia the story is different. According to a credible inside source, only essential staff in the office working.
In a special statement from CAF, dated Saturday, Mar 21, 2020, 04:25 AM -It states that “Despite being a football organization, one of our objectives is to partake in the fight against scourges posing a threat to the continent and humanity, and it is in this regard that we have taken major decisions to control and contain the spread of the COVID-19. As a result, we have suspended all competitions including the qualifiers for the Total Africa Cup of Nations Cameroon 2021 and the Total African Nations Championship, which was due for Cameroon from 4-25 April 2020. Also, the 42nd CAF Ordinary General Assembly also set for 24 April 2020 in Yaounde has also been postponed indefinitely.
Football is the passion of the continent, but the health of the players, officials, partners, and fans matter most at this point. I expressed my sincerest condolences to the families who have lost loved ones and speedy recovery to affected persons.
In light of the spread, personnel working at the CAF headquarters have been directed to work from home effective 19 March 2020 till the end of March.” the statement concludes.
With the pronouncement of the date for the Liberia FA congress, it clearly shows the FA failure to adhere to the global ban in suspending all activities relating to football. The FA has failed to provide any update on clubs or a player during this heated period based on internal monitoring but has failed to explore all options available to find ways of resuming the season when the conditions will allow.
The progress of COVID-19 remains unclear and some clubs reassuring fans on the health and welfare of players, staff, and supporters as their priority. As the nation continues to follow Government advice and work collaboratively to keep the situation under review. Also, keep informed as local health authorities provide the latest information on the situation in your area. The most prudent course of action for all persons is to heed the instructions from the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, the Ministry of Health, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
Meanwhile FIFA have also pledged $10 million to support the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for WHO.