Musa Hassan Bility, the President of the Liberia Football Association does not have the required integrity to lead world football, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) has declared.
Bility was one of the seven candidates for the FIFA presidency but has been excluded from the election after failing integrity checks.
FIFA’s electoral committee announced that the LFA Chief has not passed the check and is not eligible to stand, but is not making the reasons for his exclusion public.
FIFA said in a statement: “The integrity check included a review of corporate records, litigation cases, bankruptcy proceedings, potential regulatory actions taken against the candidate and a review of media reports concerning potential red flags (fraudulent behaviour, match manipulation, human rights violations, etc.).
“Each candidate was then asked to comment on the content of the detailed report produced.
“The ad-hoc electoral committee did not admit the candidature of Musa Hassan Bility, in view of the content of the integrity check report relating to him. For reasons of protection of personality rights, the committee – while it has explained its considerations in detail to Musa Hassan Bility – will not comment publicly on the specifics of its decision.”
The decision can be appealed at the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne.
Bility told the BBC said he has been informed by Fifa that his candidacy was “principally rejected” because of the ban. He was given a six month ban from all football activities in 2013 for using confidential documents from African football’s governing body in a legal challenge against Issa Hayatou.
“I reject this and think it’s unfortunate,” he added. “My decision to fight CAF at the time was a genuine attempt to change African football and prevent rules from being arbitrarily violated.
“I am awaiting the review by my team of lawyers to determine my next course of action,” Bility said.
The Liberian government, Which fully endorsed Bility’s FIFA presidential bid has expressed “shock” over the latest development. Bility generated huge support in government’s circle with its integrity chief – ex interim President Dr. Amos Sawyer, head of the Governance Commission leading the campaign.
“We barked Mr. Bility like any responsible government will do when one of its citizens aspires for a global position. Now we are shock with the latest development. Notwithstanding, in due course we will response appropriately when all the facts are obtained”, Deputy Information Minister Isaac Jackson said.
Bility has been a party to financial scandals in the country. He had faced charges ranging from tax evasion to economic sabotage but rejected all with plead of innocence.
Renowned sports journalist Danesius Marteh who has consistently documented Bility’s corporate deeds and football administration told The New Democrat he was not surprised at the FIFA integrity committee’s decision.
Bility’s failing of the integrity checks is an embarrassment to the country and shame to the government that supported him. He has been involved in tax evasion. The government indicted him on several occasions but the same government ignored the integrity issues and risked the country’s reputation globally by its uncalculated decision.
Festus Poquie with RTF files