The Gambia Football Federation (GFF) on Friday announced it would waive the annual registration fees worth D1.46million for league clubs in the upcoming season.
The big hearted proposal was disclosed at the Federation’s first management meeting with club stakeholders ahead of the new football season at the Friendship Hostel at the Independence Stadium, Bakau.
This pre-season meeting was initially planned for Saturday 29th October but was later changed to Friday the 28th, due to the usual end of month ‘Set Settal’. The meeting was chaired by the GFF President Lamin Kabba Bajo in his capacity as both the national football federation’s president and as the chair of the league’s organising committee. Also present was the GFF’s second vice president, Mr. Ebou Faye as the one responsible for the running of competitions. The other attendees included most of the club presidents, secretaries general, other club representatives and members of the media.
The meeting was scheduled to review the past league season, and also to look ahead on the forthcoming season, the 2016/17 season.
One of the many appealing proposals revealed by GFF president, Lamin Kabba Bajo during his speech was the unanimous decision to waive registration fees worth over a million dalasis for clubs in the upcoming league season, news which was met with a rapturous applause from the football stakeholders.
Mr. Bajo also added that they’ve ‘agreed to extend preparation support to all the clubs in the league, support all the designated playing grounds, all the regional associations and allied associations. The GFF president also revealed that the executive committee is as well looking at modalities to offer further assistance to the league clubs in the areas of mobility and transportation to and from the football grounds.
Others to benefit from the Federation’s cash windfall were the various regional football associations, who will each receive a D50,000 handout from the GFF coffers as support for their respective regions.
The two football clubs representing the country in next season’s CAF club championships: the last season league winners, The Gambia Ports Authority (GPA) and the FA Cup winners Brikama United, will also receive GFF’s support in their match indemnities, airfares and accommodations during home matches.
Bakary K. Jammeh, a member of the GFF executive committee also reminded stakeholders about the Federation’s four-year strategic development plan, which according to him encompasses a holistic development agenda, amongst which is the support to league clubs, grounds and other relevant structures.
Jammeh also noted that all these supports are only made possible because of the increase in the FIFA funding; hence the GFF is dependent on the support from the world football governing body. He added that FIFA has put together all the finances in one segment under ‘strict conditions’.
He further revealed that The Gambia is one of two countries in Africa that is being acclaimed by FIFA to have succeeded in assessing the said fund. “The FIFA Assistance Programme is to meet conditions and unless a country fulfills such, no monies would be disbursed to your Association,” he said.
The GFF second Vice President Ebou Faye also told the gathering that the GFF has a strategic vision for the country’s national league and according to him one of the plans is to increase the quality and competition of the leagues and to further increase the playing time of players.
“We want as part of our strategic vision of national league to produce more quality players and to further enable our players to take part in international football or club engagements,” said Mr Faye, before further disclosing that a new dimension in league division two would be tested this season by introducing a playoff for second, third, fourth and fifth place teams to engage in an elimination round for the winner joining the second division champion in the top flight.
“By next season 2017/18, our plan is to increase league division one teams to 14 while division two will also be increased to 16,” he concluded.
The 2016/17 division two league will kick off on the 9th November while the division one league commences on the 19th November.
Reacting to the latest developments from Football House, Lamin Jassey, a former administrative secretary of the GFF described the announcements are unprecedented and very much welcomed, noting that if implemented they will undoubtedly improve our football with less burdens on the clubs.
“We thank the GFF for the foresight and the hard work they put in to access FIFA funds which are now under strict control. We also urge the clubs to capitalise on this opportunity to strengthen their base and to administer their affairs in accordance with international standards,” Jassey said.
“I must also register my heartfelt delight to the GFF President Lamin Kabba Bajo, for the pledge to allocate D50,000 to each of the 7 regional football association in the country, and the appointments of regional administrators and regional coaches in all the 7 regions in the country. This will enhance the decentralisation drive the Federation has embarked on since Kabba took over as head of country’s football governing body.”
Jassey further stated that infrastructural development is a sin quantum in the development of football, noting that without proper fields and training facilities the development of our beautiful game would be deterred.
“We welcome the proposal to develop all the grounds in the region and the Greater Banjul Area. Finally, I say a big congratulation to President Lamin Kabba Bajo and his entire team on taking this direction.”
Additional source: Lamin Jassey