Babucarr Camara, Director of Communications Gambia Football Federation (GFF) has clarified why the Federation’s last Football league leaders are yet to be paid.
He revealed in an interview with The Voice Sports that the inability of the GFF to pay last season’s league leaders square down to a lack of cash flows in the coffers of the federation.
His reaction on the heels of heightening tempers among a cross-section of the football community who are casting blame on last year’s league winners for their debacle, they are responsible for their debacle after voting for GFF President Lamin Kaaba Bajo in the last GFF congress against Team Restore Confidence led by Saidou Kamaso.
“It is true we did not pay our league winners and not only Hawks and the Female league winners but across the board.
“We (GFF) run four separate leagues, two in men and two in female each of these leagues is 100 percent sponsored by us. To organize a league alone includes the payment of referees, their assistants, match commissioners, and all the logistics associated with it and it costs GFF twenty-five million dalasi (25 Million),” he said.
He added: “This is not small money. We have the national team, we have the CHAN team, U-23, U-20, and U-17, and coming to the female teams where we have the senior women national team, U-20, and the U-17, we have eight national teams that are 100 percent sponsored by the GFF.”
According to him, over the past few months, the CHAN Team, the U-23, and U-20 all participated in different qualifiers, disclosing that each of these qualifier games cost the Gambia Football Federation millions of dalasi (D13 Million).
“When you have three different national teams participating within one month it becomes expensive and will take a toll on us financially. We have no sponsorship, we are entirely depending on FIFA resources, the senior national team, currently in Turkey is been sponsored by the government but even with that there are other related costs that we fulfill and this is different from the preparatory monies we give to clubs every year,” GFF Communication Chief further clarified.
He added: “The support we are also giving out to our league clubs too is more than ten million dalasi (D10 Million) every year. We also have seven (7) different regional league associations that run their regional leagues under the sponsor of GFF, if you look at all these things they are expensive and we don’t have money, we are not a rich organization and most of the time we use our operational funds on national teams and leagues.”
He emphasized that GFF is doing everything under its powers to pay 2021/2022, league winners, noting that such types of issues are unavoidable just like in the case of the referees whose payments got delayed at some point but were finally paid when funds became available.
GFF Communication Chief observed that the decries expressed on payment of the league winners’ money are mainly generated from the naysayers but not from the league winners, noting that league winners are aware of the prevailing situation at the Football house and so far, they haven’t submitted complaint to GFF as alluded by the naysayers.
“The Clubs know the challenges GFF faces and also know the support we are giving to them even if they qualify for the CAF champion’s league and confederation cups we give them accommodation at the football hotel with full board (three square meals plus accommodation). On top of all this, we give those five hundred thousand dalasis (D500, 000) every round of their participation in the regional and continental tournaments,” GFF Communication Chief further revealed.
He added: “These are not actually the primary function of a national federation but here in Gambia we have challenges this is why GFF is digging its pocket on all of these issues. Club management is not the function of the GFF but we don’t have choices, we have to give them support.”
According to him, every national team all over the world has been sponsored by their respective governments, arguing that supposed this was happening here in the Gambia, GFF would have been focusing on the development and promotion of football at the grassroots levels.