Liberia’s Woodson wins CAS appeal and returns to LFA exco
August 8 – Rochell Woodson, the Liberian FA executive committee member who was removed from her position at the LFA Congress in December 2016 while she was on maternity leave, has won her appeal against the decision at the Court for Arbitration of Sport (CAS).
The decision for Woodson requires the LFA to re-admit her to the executive committee as well as settle her costs and unpaid remuneration.
Woodson has been a fierce campaigner for Liberian football development pointing out a number of financial discrepancies within the administration of Liberian FA president Musa Bility, as well as most recently that LFA staff have been unpaid, including the women’s football representative who has been unpaid for a year.
The various issues have been communicated to FIFA’s general secretary Fatma Samoura who have failed to respond to Woodson at any point. FIFA has backed Bility to the degree that he boasts he can do anything he wants.
The return of Woodson to the LFA’s executive committee will not be something that Bility will want, though it was Bility who had agreed her maternity leave. Having granted her maternity leave, a motion was brought before the Liberian FA on December 27 calling for her expulsion, which was voted through.
When Woodson informed the LFA she was ready to resume her duties on January 26, 2017, the LFA general secretary wrote to her the following day saying that at the December congress “resolutions were brought to have you expelled from the executive committee”.
The CAS arbitrator concluded that Woodson had been excused for the full period of her maternity leave and that she had not in any case missed any executive meetings during that time.
The ruling says that the LFA was not justified in making its decision, and that it “did not accord with the process provided for in its statutes.”
It is understood that Bility has accepted the CAS ruling and that the LFA will not take this case any further.
Woodson, who has been a member of FIFA’s standing committee on women’s football since 2011 and has chaired or co-chaired a number of LFA sub-committee, is also a Confederation of African Football (CAF) match commissioner. She can now return to her duties – most of which are voluntary.
She might even get a response from FIFA, even an acknowledgment would be a step forward.