The Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF) wishes to respond to the allegations of nepotism, biasness and unfair treatment levelled against it by Joel Puia Konofilia in the social media. This relates to the case involving Tigi Molea, who, at the time of the alleged incident, was, and still is, a player of the Solomon Warriors FC (SW) participating in the TSL 2019/2020 Season.
Worth noting is the fact that Mr Molea’s case is currently before the SIFF Disciplinary Committee (DC) for determination. DC is one of the three (3) judicial bodies set up within the football structure that is responsible solely and independently to deal with and handle matters of disciplinary nature. The other two judicial bodies are Ethics Committee (ethical matters) and the Appeals Committee (appeal cases). As to when and/or how soon DC will determine an outcome in Mr. Tigi’s case, is an issue only the members of the DC can allude to notwithstanding the fact that SIFF had, for the record, communicated to DC its hope to see that Mr Tigi’s case is dealt with expeditiously.
Against this backdrop, SIFF wishes to make the following points that:
- SIFF takes all disciplinary matters seriously and ensures that all disciplinary cases are assessed and submitted on a timely basis to the DC for determination.
- The TSL Board manages and run the TSL although disciplinary matters arising from and/or relating to the TSL fall solely within the DC’s jurisdiction. Neither the TSL Board nor any SIFF staff (or any of its members or clubs for that matter) have the mandate to influence any outcome of all or any disciplinary matters that are referred to the DC.
- Mr Tigi’s case is no exception.
- Attempts on the part of Mr Konofilia to make any comparisons between his case and Tigi’s are only nugatory and unnecessary as his (Mr. Konofilia) case had already been disposed of by the SIFF Appeals Committee. Equally important was the fact that Mr Konofilia had waived his right to question the manner in which he case was dealt with as he had opted not to take up an appeal to the OFC Appeals Committee.
- It is only procedural that SIFF through its Executive Committee imposes temporary sanctions in matters that warrant interim suspension (on players) from TSL matches pending further or final determination. Mr Konofilia’s case and that of Tigi’s are classical examples.
- Similarly, in Tigi’s case, a temporary suspension was imposed on him by SIFF pending the outcome of a DC hearing. The suspension came at the time when SW still had a TSL match in hand.
- Subsequently, at a preliminary hearing convened by the DC, the DC lifted the suspension based on its assessment of the evidence available before it at that time. SIFF understands that at that preliminary hearing Mr Tigi pleaded his alibi (or mistaken identity) raising issues surrounding his identity. For the avoidance of doubt, in Mr Konofilia’s case there was never any issue as to his identity. In fact, Mr Konofilia at the preliminary stages admitted to the charges laid against him.
- Whether or not the DC was right in lifting the suspension is a matter that will have to be considered at the final hearing.
- The lifting of the suspension by DC came about prior to SW’s final match. It was wrong and misleading therefore to say that Mr Molea was ineligible to play for SW at the time when the club had its final match. Mr Molea was eligible to play then. Similarly, there was never any legal impediment that would have stopped Mr Molea from participating in the Oceania Club Championship when SW participated in Noumea last week.
- Mr Konofilia is currently serving his ban. Accordingly, he is banned from engaging in any SIFF sanctioned football or related activity during the tenure of his suspension. In line with its own Statute and regulations, SIFF cannot deal with Mr Konofilia or any of his affiliates that he is heavily involved in during the period of his ban. It was on this basis that HFA had decided against the participation of the Royals Academy in the HFA league.
- Similarly, given that Mr Konofilia is still serving his ban, he does not have standing to raise any issues concerning SIFF and its activities at the present time.
As the legitimate custodian of football in the country, SIFF will always ensure that the interest of football is always prevail. In SIFF’s view, what Mr Konofilia should be more concerned with at this point in time is the health and safety of the members of the Royal Academy who are currently in England. This is so in light of the deadly COVID-19 that has been declared pandemic worldwide.