Football: FFSL's one step forward - two steps back journey

7 January 2019 - 9   - 0

Days after the break of the year 2019, a section of Sri Lanka football stakeholders have raised concerns over the delay of Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL), in adopting a model constitutional amendment recommended by the FIFA in December 2014. 

According to reports the FIFA had produced the 'model constitution' to its 209 member countries to study, compare with their existing constitutions, make necessary amendments and adopt accordingly. 

Almost 90 percent of the FIFA member countries have already amended and adopted in accordance to the recommendations of the global governing body but Sri Lanka is one of its members yet to make a change. 

"The FFSL constitution is an old draft, and it was amended some years ago to favour certain administrative groups. In the recent years Sri Lanka had issues with its Sports Law, which too was amended from time to time, but never saw a completion, and as a result many sports governing associations and federations had to redo their constitutions. Football is one sport that is yet to adopt in accordance to its global, regional and country regulations. This may also depict the administrative setback of FFSL," an expert in sports administration stated. 

When FIFA sent its 'model constitution' to Sri Lanka in December 2014, the then President Ranjith Rodrigo had barely four months to respond and incumbent President Anura de Silva was elected in 2015. 

The FIFA model constitution was kept in the loop untouched for years since then. 

"I had recommended that Sri Lanka should study and make possible amendments to its constitution after receiving the FIFA model constitution. But I had very little time remaining by then as FFSL had to prepare for the Annual General Meeting, scheduled for March 2015. However the FIFA model constitution went under the carpet and it had been not looked into during the past four years, and the FFSL administration has remained unchanged," former President Rodrigo stated. 

According to Rodrigo, the FFSL has a mammoth vote base of 210 with 70 Leagues being granted three votes each. Surprisingly the global body, FIFA, has only 209 votes with one member country being granted a vote each. 

The incumbent President, Anura de Silva, however told the Sunday Times that the FFSL has done its utmost best to adopt the FIFA model but needed guidelines and help. 

"We have continued doing development projects to uplift the standards of football in the country during the recent past. At the same time the FIFA model constitution was treated as a top priority and we have officially written to the global body for their assistance in adopting the changes. We are waiting for a reply from FIFA," de Silva said. 

In contrast Rodrigo charged on the present FFSL administration for 'deliberately delaying the process' and overlooking on the subject for the past four years. 

He said that a method of going forward is mandatory and is a possibility if the FFSL officials really had the interest. 

"It's a matter of calling in a Special General Meeting, discussing the subject and going in for a vote. If the constitutional amendments are adopted it's deemed accepted and if it fails, they can go for the next step of seeking assistance from FIFA." 

Recently FIFA stepped in into Maldives by appointing a Normalisation Committee, which helped adopt an amended constitution and a democratic election. 

"We know there are loopholes in our constitution and at the same time it will be good to have a clearer picture of the FIFA model constitution from an expert. We do not intend to rush and drag matters further," de Silva further explained. 

On October 31 last year, the FFSL came under heavy criticism by the Sri Lanka Ministry of Sports for voting in favour constitutional amendments tabled at the Annual Congress of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), citing it breached the country's 'foreign policy'. 

No charges were made and no action was taken for the decision of FFSL, who should be including the AFC constitutional change, if they are keen on adopting what they stood for. 

A section of the football fraternity is looking at the delay of adopting the FIFA recommendations as a deliberate act with vested interest with the AFC and FIFA Presidential Elections upcoming in March and April respectively.

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