The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) has cancelled the national Division One play-offs that were supposed to have started on Tuesday, 21st January 2020.
Twenty six (26) teams from five regions were to battle for four places in the country’s elite Premier League. Nothern region were to get two spots, while the other two spots were to be fought for by Western Area, Southern and Eastern Regions respectively.
In a press release from the media department of SLFA on Wednesday, 22nd January, it was stated that the reason for the cancellation was as a result of the “refusal by some individuals who took the SLFA to court and sought for an injunction on the Northern regional play-offs in 2019.
The release further stated that; “though it has been amicably resolved by the football family at an Ordinary Congress held in December 2019, the individuals have refused to withdraw the case from court”.
It could be recalled that, in September 2019, chairman of Yambatui Stars of Moyamba, Joseph Ngogba and four others sought redress in the high court of Sierra Leone, contesting the legality of the Northern region play-offs agreed by the Executive Committee of the SLFA, on the inclusion of two teams from the Northern region i.e. the North-west and North-East Regions respectively.
The decision was cited as a means to promote national inclusion of teams playing in the country’s elite league.
Joseph Ngogba and four others contested the legality of the play-offs and further requested for an injunction to be slammed on it, a request that was granted by Judge Komba Kamanda.
It was later agreed during the Ordinary Congress in Port Loko that four teams from the first Division, shall be joining the fourteen teams already in the Premier League by virtue of a playoff.
The decision to cancel the play-offs according to the release was resolved during a meeting held in Bo on Sunday, 19th January 2020.
This decision is welcomed with grave disappointment by the affected club owners, who expressed dismay over the FA’s decision as this has caused money spent on preparations to go in vain.