Maldives moves to halt polls for national football body again

Maldives moves to halt polls for national football body again
October 21 17:10 2015

Despite the threat of suspension from international football, the home ministry has requested the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) to call off long-awaited elections scheduled to take place tomorrow.

The Home Ministry says the poll is “illegal,” but did not give reasons.

Bassam Adeel Jaleel, the secretary general, insisted that the poll to elect a new president for FAM would go ahead tomorrow, unless the global football governing body, FIFA, and its regional arm Asian Football Confederation (AFC) intervenes.

On Monday, when the youth ministry ordered a halt to polls, the AFC said Maldives could face suspension from all football activities if the government is allowed to intervene.

The ministry had cited a complaint lodged at the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) against Mohamed Shaweed, the sole candidate for FAM’s presidency, and the head of an interim committee formed to pass a new constitution for FAM.

The ACC, however, has cleared Shaweed, a prominent businessman, of charges of bribery.

The FAM’s election has been delayed for more than a year due to infighting in its executive committee over the association’s constitution. The new charter was passed last month.

The Maldives Independent was not able to contact either the FAM or the home ministry as the spokesmen were not responding to calls.

Representatives from FIFA and AFC are due to arrive in the Maldives to observe the voting process.

As Shaweed is the only candidate, he faces a yes or no vote. If he is elected, the executive committee will comprise of a team of his choosing.

Last week, FIFA suspended Kuwait’s football association over government interference. Kuwaiti teams and clubs were banned from international competitions and its association was barred from receiving development assistance.