SWAL Condemns LFA Vice President Wilmot Smith
The Sports Writers Association of Liberia (SWAL) has condemned actions by Liberia Football Association (LFA), Vice President for Operations, Wilmot Smith, who on Monday ordered armed police officers to arrest INQUIRER Sports Editor, D. Webster Cassell at the Antoinette Tubman Stadium (ATS).
SWAL in a release said The LFA VPO insinuated that a publication in the Monday, June 10 edition of the INQUIRER Newspaper under the captioned “Fatal Misconduct, LFA VPO in Shadow of Reputation, Accused of Assaulting Referee, But…” did injure his character.
SWAL said instead of treating the matter as a civil case, the LFA VPO alerted armed police officers to effect an arrest on the INQUIRER Sports Editor at the ATS.
The local Sports Writing body describing the action as a serious embarrassment to the sport and said it is seriously bewildered by the action of the LFA VPO to take armed police officers at the home of Liberian football.
In the statement, SWAL also frowns at any attitude that has the proclivity to embarrass and injure the long-standing relationship that has existed between the sporting media and LFA.
SWAL, however, considers the VPO’s action as a serious threat and crackdown on the free press.
“While we denounce all forms of improper reportage, SWAL still believes that the manner in which the VPO proceeded was detrimental, considering that he failed to exhaust all the internal professional channels” the statement added.
At the same time, the Sports Writers Association of Liberia is calling on the LFA to take advantage of the existing Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) which provides for making first contact with the sportswriters’ leadership and the Press Union of Liberia (PUL), in the case of a descending view on any reportage by its members.
SWAL noted in the statement that VPO Smith’s action demonstrated a lack of tolerance as an official of the beautiful game and that the act further undermines the spirit and intent of the game.
Meanwhile, the Sports Writers Association, (SWAL), is calling on the Liberia Football Association to immediately launch an inquiry into the action of its VPO Wilmot Smith.
SWAL insists that the LFA also investigates allegations linking the LFA VPO to an assault on referee James Frederick, the referee’s coordinator at the ongoing Intra-Governmental Tournament.
SWAL takes seriously the alleged assault of a referee and expresses serious concern over the LFA’s failure to have issued a statement on the situation.
At the same time, SWAL extends special commendation to LFA’s Executive Committee Member, Cllr. Joseph Kollie, for his timely intervention that brought the situation under control.
The Liberia Football Association whose president is said to have witnessed the incident is yet to make a comment on the situation.
The Monrovia Time Sports understands that a brawl is gradually building between the LFA VPO and the Secretary-General of the LFA Isaac Montgomery.