Liberia Football Association (LFA) President Musa Hassan Bility has filed an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) seeking redress over his denial as candidate in the impending election for presidency of the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) in Zurich, Switzerland on February 26, 2016.
In a press statement issued Wednesday, Bility said FIFA informed him through the Ad-Hoc Elections Committee on November 12 it would not admit him as a candidate based on an “investigative report on integrity” by the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee of FIFA.
“I find this decision of FIFA to be unfair, troubling and disappointing,” he noted in the statement, adding that such prompted his appeal to CAS urging that body to “act with urgency in the disposition of this matter, in righting an obvious wrong against me, and in granting me general and specific reliefs to which they believe me to be justly entitled.”
According to Bility, his appeal has been found to be legally and procedurally sufficient so much so that it has been duly processed by the court, and that FIFA has been regularly informed.
He continued: “Within the statutory period required, I will perfect the appeal through detailed submissions to the Court. Let there be no mistake of my desire to right this obvious wrong.”
Bility pointed out that he understood the enormity of the task at hand – the personal and financial costs to be borne, the growing call for reforms and the need to make the global organization more inclusive when he embarked upon the most improbable of journeys as the only outsider to the inner chambers of FIFA.
“Indeed, change is hard. But change we must come, not only for ourselves, but for all who love the beautiful game of football, and all the possibilities it affords countries that are both big and small, as well as people who are both rich and poor. This game has brought all together in ways never imagined before,” he indicated.
He noted that the integrity check was the first of its kind attempt by FIFA to be so engaged to conduct integrity checks on candidates, adding, “I invited the scrutiny when I placed my name in public contention and am pleased that FIFA will conduct integrity checks on all candidates.”
“However, to rely on such quality of work, or lack thereof, for decision making of this scale and magnitude compels me to question the associated investigative protocols and standards as well as the seriousness of the scrutiny,” Bility said.
He expressed the belief that the investigative probe should be of the highest standards in both quality and objectivity and also believes that voting federations should benefit from these disclosures. The federations which will elect the President but also all inner chambers of FIFA deserve to know into whose hands they are placing the future of the global game of football.
He indicated that although he disagrees with many of the "investigative findings", to the extent that it does not violate ongoing litigations with him and FIFA, “I have instructed my team to share the information with various voting federations along with proof of its obviously poor quality.”
“I do not do this light-heartedly. Actually, I do so with a heavy heart – one, like so many hearts around the world, which is filled with love and care about the future of football, and only seeks the best for the organization that has given so much to so many.
“I continue to see in FIFA the potential to become a more inclusive organization and a powerful instrument not only for promoting football but for catalyzing development, inspiring dreams and promoting peace in national, regional and global communities. This is the vision of FIFA that inspires and motivates outsiders like me.”