The East End Lions Football Club notes with dismay a Press Release making the rounds on social media which purports to have penalized the club 3 points and 3 goals and awarded same to Bai Bureh Warriors. It is also noted that this decision was and has not be officially communicated to us as a Club and more importantly we have never been summoned to or attended any formal disciplinary hearing by the Premier League Board(PLB). It therefore begs the question, how can you conduct a trial and find our club guilty without according us the opportunity to be heard and to defend ourselves! This is a cardinal rule of natural justice and the actions of the Premier League Board smirks of high handedness and a lack of understanding of basic rules and principles.
As a Club we note that it is the duty of the Premier League Board to provide security for all teams and at all venues for which services the Premier League Board collects monies from participating teams. During the said match our officials, players and supporters were attacked, threatened heckled and harassed by the Bai Bureh Warriors Supporters and this it appears has become a consistent pattern of behavior for teams outside Freetown against our fans, officials and players. We are a peace loving and law abiding club and we will continue to respect the laws of the game but we will NOT BE BULLIED into submission by an inconsistent Premier League Board
We wish to inform the general public that during the match against Bai Bureh Warriors, the Premier League Board failed to provide basic security during the match which we hereby note is the primary reason for the pitch invasion on that day. We also note that when our second goal was unjustly disallowed our supporters did not invade the pitch or disrupt the match. We can state very clearly that it was when the Referee unjustly awarded a penalty to Bai Bureh Warriors that the pitch was invaded by their jubilating fans who proceeded towards our fans which culminated in confusion and disruption of the match. We vigorously refute the Premier League Board’s perceived and unjustified notion that our fans were involved in violence and we categorically state that the decision of the Board cannot be justified within the framework of the relevant football rules.
We wish to draw the attention of the Premier League Board to their decision regarding our match between Kamboi Eagles of Kenema in which the Eagles Fans invaded the pitch attacked and wounded our players and fans. This same Premier League Board decided and ordered a replay of the said match and it is therefore incomprehensible for the Premier League Board to reach a decision different from its precedent and award both match and points to the other side when in fact we were leading 1.0 and had had a goal disallowed.
The Premier League Board failed in their responsibility to maintain fair play, provide adequate security on match day, afford our club the opportunity to be heard at a properly convened hearing, reaching inconsistent decisions on the same and similar facts and generally creating the perception that it is an institution that appears not to know what it is doing. How do you find a party liable without hearing from them? What rules and procedures were used? What evidence was adduced at the hearing (if any)?. The days of jungle and backroom justice are long gone and should not characterize the basic tenets of football in Sierra Leone.
We can prove as a club that we paid entrance fee for our fans; that the Board failed to provide adequate security; that more sinister plans of attack against our supporters were planned; we have video evidence of intimidation and provocation and all of this happened in the presence of the Premier League Board Chairman Alieu Vandy who is on record admitting in the presence of our officials that the referee had handled the match poorly.
We are disappointed and disheartened in this blatant abuse of power and authority by the Premier League Board and we wish to inform fans and the public that we will challenge this to the highest football adjudicating body if necessary, commencing with an immediate appeal to the Premier League Board through our Solicitor Mohamed Bangura Esq.
Football in Sierra Leone deserves better; East End Lions deserves justice and fair play, the Premier League Board must be run like a professional institution. If we continue to be muzzled by the Premier League Board we will have no option but to withdraw our current participation in this Premier League Season until such time as this matter is FAIRLY addressed.
We wish to entreat our fans to be patient and give the new technical team time to produce results. We have 31 more games to go in the season and as a club we will only get better as the season progresses.
DATED 6TH MAY 2021. SIGNED______________________
EAST END LIONS F.C.