West African team Gulf FC has ban overturned to contest promotion to premier league
A second-tier football club in Sierra Leone is free to contest a promotion despite being at the centre of an ongoing investigation into allegations of match-fixing, after a game finished with a final score of 91-1 last month.
Kono-based Gulf FC qualified for their league’s Super 10 playoffs after defeating city rivals Koquima Lebanon 3-0. Meanwhile, competitors Kahunla Rangers lost 1-0 to Lumbebu United in replayed matches.
However, while the results may seem innocuous, the four clubs have come under the microscope after Gulf obliterated Koquima by 90 goals in their last meeting, and Rangers thrashed Lumbebu United 95-0.
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The Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) subsequently launched an investigation, annulling the two results for alleged match manipulation. This resulted in all four teams being suspended by the Eastern Region FA (ERFA).
But in a bizarre twist, the bans were inexplicably lifted by the ERFA last Thursday to allow the matches to be replayed and new results to be recorded.
With Gulf FC taking victory in the re-run, the team has recovered their chance to play for a promotion to the country’s Premier League next season.
Gulf FC drew global headlines after their 91-1 win in Sierra Leone last month. (BBC)
“Based on the report we got from the ERFA we allowed the matches to be replayed so that we can meet our calendar,” SLFA president Thomas Daddy Brima told BBC Sport Africa.
“But that does not in any way mean we have closed the case. We are sending it to FIFA and CAF (the Confederation of African Football) for them to look at it and advise accordingly.
“I can confirm that Gulf FC will be allowed to take part in the Super 10.”
The findings of the ERFA’s disciplinary committee into the match-fixing allegations are yet to be made public.
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