The FIFA ethics committee has started investigating the former head coach of the Sierra Leone women’s national team, Abdulai Bah, for alleged sexual harassment of players.
This comes after the world football governing body, accused the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) of inadequacies in its investigation, which started a very long time ago. In October 2021, Abdulai Bah was suspended from his role as head coach of the Sierra Leone national female team, after allegations of sexual harassment were made by three players, including the former U20 captain, Bilkisu Kandeh Turay.
Turay alleged that in 2017, when she was 17 years old, Bah sent her pictures of his penis and pornographic videos after complaining about bad conditions in the national squad.
“We don’t get proper kits, food, medical facilities or transport. Nothing!. I tried talking to the head coach Bah. He told me to keep quiet. Then he changed the topic, told me he loves me and sent me pictures of his penis and porn videos,” Turay alleged in an interview with The Guardian.
The international players’ union, Fifpro, believe that the SLFA has shown inadequacies in their investigation of the said matter as they have failed to respond to repeated questions and have expressed doubts over the scope and independence of the SLFA’s investigation. FIFA is also looking at these allegations against the SLFA.
Turay, who claims Bah asked her for sex every day was not the only victim to make such accusations, as part of an online campaign FC Kallon goalkeeper Zainab Conteh, also alleged that Bah had asked her for sex and pornographic videos of her private parts.
According to The Guardian, Turay said that she had raised the alleged sexual harassment several times with SLFA officials but they refused to take action. Later, the SLFA said it would investigate the allegations and suspended Bah for professional misconduct.
Bah was later arrested and spent 11 days in police custody before being released on bail. With over a year on bail, The Guardian claimed that a police spokesperson said; Bah remained on bail pending legal advice from the office of the director of public prosecutions as to whether to charge the matter to court or to discontinue the investigation.
William Fayia Sellu, the Inspector General of the Sierra Leone Police, who was the detective leading the investigation, said on a radio show in January, this year that they had found no evidence to support the claims of sexual harassment, as messages and phone calls are not enough.
Bah has denied all the allegations against him and he is currently the head coach of the Sierra Leone Premier League side, Old Edwardians.
[…] On February 8, 2023, it was reported that FIFA accused the Sierra Leone Football Association (SLFA) of inadequacies in its investigation of the former female head coach which started in October 2021, for allegations of sexual harassment of female players during his time at the female national team. The world football governing body stated that they have launched a probe into the said matter through the FIFA Ethics committee. […]