FIFA warns of sanctions over court proceeding
June 3, 2014

The International Football Federation, FIFA and their Asian representative, AFC have warned the Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) of an immediate suspension if it did not take steps to ensure that action filed in court by ex-football president Gamini Randeniya to prevent the incumbent executive committee from holding office in 2013-2015 was withdrawn.

The District Court of Colombo last month issued an enjoining order on football administrators, forcing them to suspend their Annual General Meeting (AGM) scheduled for May 24. The Court also barred the FFSL president from attending FIFA or AFC meetings on any football related activities and limited FFSL’s financial activities to payment of salaries and utility bills.

Jerome Valcke, FIFA SecretaryGeneral, in a strongly-worded letter to FFSL President Ranjith Rodrigo warns that “such an action may result in the matter being referred to the competent FIFA body to take appropriate measures against FFSL, which may include an immediate suspension”.

“Such a suspension would mean that FFSL would lose all its membership rights as well as prevent all Sri Lankan teams (national or clubs) from having international contracts and participating in FIFA and AFC competitions,” Valcke writes. “It would also mean that neither FFSL nor its members or officials could benefit from any FIFA or AFC development programs, course or training during the term of suspension.”

FIFA and AFC have been the FFSL’s biggest financial contributors, with FIFA paying an annual grant of US$ 250,000 while AFC grants US$ 300,000. There are also various other grants for infrastructure and grassroots development of the game.

Valcke’s letter dated May 26 adds that, according to FIFA Statutes, recourse to ordinary courts of law is prohibited and has asked FFSL chief to issue sanctions on parties that failed to respect this obligation.

“By pursuing their actions before the ordinary court of law, the officials’ behaviour appears to prevent FFSL from managing its affairs independently and undermines the competent decision making bodies of FFSL, which would seem to be contrary to the above obligations,” the letter stresses. “In this context and given FFSL’s obligation to ensure its own members comply with the FIFA Statutes, we respectfully request you to inform us of what steps will be taken to ensure the action before the court of law is withdrawn.”

FIFA General Secretary Dato’ Alex Soosay expressed similar sentiments in a letter dated May 27. He also confirmed that FIFA and AFC recognised Ranjith Rodrigo and Upali Hewage as duly-elected president and the general secretary of the federation till 2015.“Firstly, we confirm that yourself, Ranjith Rodrigo and Upali Hewage were elected as FFSL president and honorary general secretary respectively by the FFSL congress for a two-year term on March 23, 2013,” Soosay states.

Meanwhile, the court yesterday relaxed its earlier enjoining order and allowed the FFSL president to attend FIFA or AFC meetings on any football-related activities and engaging in any other football related activities.

Source: Daily Mirror - Sri Lanka

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