BREAKING: Less Than 24 Hours to SLFA Election, Rodney Michael Withdraws From Presidential Race
Rodney Michael has withdrawn his candidacy for the SLFA presidency, a day after he won his appeal case at the Court of Arbitration for Sports declaring him eligible to contest the elections slated for tomorrow, Saturday 5th June in Makeni.
Read his statement below:
Fellow Sierra Leoneans wherever you are in Sierra Leone or in the diaspora, I pray that you and your families are all in good health.
Over the last 12 years, I have lived the dream and nursed the ambition of becoming the President of the Sierra Leone Football Association.
In all my 35 years as a football administrator, having served the football association at different levels and in various capacities, with passion and dedication, sacrificing my time, energy and resources, the one ambition I have always treasured is the privilege to lead the SLFA.
In 2008 elections I lost by one vote in my quest to become the VICE PRESIDENT 1. It was after that election I was spurred on to work towards the Presidency.
In the 2012/13 elections, the whole Nation believed it was my time to fulfil the dream, but it was not to be.
I felt there was a conspiracy to hurt my candidacy and by the end of the process I protested that the decision of the Normalization committee was wrong and unjust. My appeal to FIFA was rejected that the Normalization Committee decision was final. I had no recourse to an appeal.
In 2014 a match fixing allegation was fabricated for which I was unequivocally cleared by the Ethics Board in 2020. The first phase of the war against injustice and impunity had been won.
Throughout all these periods of my football life as an administrator and football politician, my strenght has been the support from the Sierra Leonean public, the football membership and my family.
I will forever be indebted to all of you.
The collective support was once more reflected when I mustered enough courage and declared my intent to contest the 2021 SLFA PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
Your support was evident and visible in social forums, public programmes and at every discussion privately or publicly.
It elevated me again to the status as favourite for the elections and we all shared the hope that Sierra Leone football will be rescued from the dismal state it had found itself over the last 8 years.
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We were once more tested when an Ethics Board, hand picked by the SLFA Executive, disqualfied me for what it erroneously considered as a violation of the current SLFA AND FIFA CODE OF ETHICS.
My dream was dented and your hope destroyed. But together we stood firm and with your collective support I insisted to seek redress this time to the Court of Arbitration for Sports in Switzerland.
I invested a total of $ 80 000 (Eighty Thousand United States Dollars), risking my integrity, dignity, credibility, reputation, respect and legitimacy in football, on search of justice, for a ruling upholding the decision of the Ethics Board would have probably ended my football administrative career and dented my character and reputation forever.
As God would have it, and thanks to my Lawyers Paolo Torchetti in Spain and assisted by Abdul Karim Koroma in Sierra Leone, the CAS Panel of Judges, the decision on Thursday 3rd June 2021 declared me eligible and clarified that I had not violated any FIFA Code of Ethics.
The war against injustice and impunity was won by all of us and which each and everyone of you deserve to share with me.
Your support, prayers and best wishes throughout the case kept me calm and relaxed through very emotional and stressful periods.
I am forever grateful.
With the elections only 48 hours after the decision of CÀS, I have found it extremely difficult to cope with the emotional, mental and physical stress to be able to campaign extensively and adequately for such an election.
It is therefore, with deep regret that I inform you all of my decision to withdraw from the SLFA ELECTIONS 2021.
I plead with you for forgiveness and understanding and once more appeal for your support for this decision will always remain a difficult decision.
I will forever be indebted to all of you and to Sierra Leone.
RODNEY EDMOND MICHAEL