Seychelles Football Federation forfeits match against Sierra Leone
The Leone Stars and Seychelles teams in action on July 19, in Freetown Sierra Leone (Twitter)
The Seychelles Football Federation (SFF) has decided to forfeit the return leg match against Sierra Leone, scheduled to take place tomorrow Saturday August 02, on the archipelago’s main island of Mahé, due to the local authorities concerns with regards to the Ebola epidemic which is evolving in Sierra Leone and in the western African region.
The epidemic started in Guinea towards the beginning of this year, before manifesting itself in Liberia then in Sierra Leone, three neighboring countries which, according to latest statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO), have totaled 1201 cases of which 728 fatalities.
‘Following the advice of the health and the immigration authorities, the football federation has decided to forfeit the match. We have had to abandon the match completely because it was to be played here on Mahé and we did not know when the local health authorities would allow them to enter the country. Also we could not postpone the match indefinitely as the next round of the CAF (Confederation of African Football) matches will start in September,” Elvis Chetty- the Seychelles’ Football Federation Chairman told SNA.
According to the CAF regulations, a country which abandons a match can be suspended for the whole competition for a period of three years and also face financial penalties.
“I have informed the CAF of our decision to forfeit the match. We believe that our decision is well founded and has been arrived at in the spirit of fair play… we have submitted all the facts before CAF and we have emphasized that it is question of force majeure and based on exceptional circumstances,” said Chetty.
“This matter has been brought to the attention of CAF’s Competitions Committee, which will decide on it soon,” he added.
The SFF noted that a Sierra Leone Player who plays in the premier league in the UK and a coaching staff in Sierra Leone’s entourage had arrived in Seychelles on a different flight without going via their country.
Meanwhile Chetty told SNA that the Seychellois footballers were very enthusiastic about the match as they had already played against the ‘Leone Stars’ team and they were convinced they would have gotten good results in the home leg against Sierra Leone, but now that they know of the decision to forfeit the match, their morale is somewhat low.
Nevertheless next week the Seychelles national team will square up against a veteran squad from France and Francophone countries.