FFBD 'officially' football's governing body in Brunei
Federation must now get Fifa's recognition
A NEW year, a new era for the Football Federation of Brunei Darussalam (FFBD), whose status as the sport's governing body in Brunei was made official recently.
"First and foremost, there had been a lot of uncertainties with regard to FFBD's status as the national body of football taking into account Fifa's (International Federation of Association Football) requirement for Bafa (the now deregistered Football Association of Brunei Darussalam) to be reinstated," said FFBD secretary-general Sheikh Nordin Sheikh Mohamad (pic) during an interview with The Brunei Times to discuss the future of the Brunei Premier League (BPL) yesterday.
"Finally some time in December, the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports Pehin Orang Kaya Pekerma Laila Diraja Dato Paduka Hj Hazair Hj Abdullah called a meeting with all FFBD affiliates and Brunei football stakeholders to announce that His Majesty's Government will not reinstate Bafa," added Sheikh Nordin, who was not present during the meeting which was held at the Conference Room of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas, due to work commitments.
With the uncertainties now cleared, the FFBD which came into existence in January 2009 is now free to move forward.
"It's good news for football generally because the uncertainty about the status of FFBD, and in general Brunei football, is gone but the problem of getting recognition (from Fifa) remains.
"However, at least, the FFBD can now start planning for the new season (2011 season)," added the FFBD secretary-general.
At the conclusion of the Fifa Executive Committee meeting last June, the committee agreed to recommend to the 60th Fifa Congress, which was held in Johannesburg on June 10, the suspension of Bafa instead of an expulsion as agreed during the previous meeting on March 19 in Zurich.
The decision was reached after taking into account that no major progress had been made since Bafa was suspended in September 2009.
Brunei's fate was then sealed when the highest authority for global football confirmed that Bafa would remain suspended until June 2011, when the next Fifa Executive Committee meeting is due to be held and the Bafa issue is expected to be re-discussed.
Judging by the decision to not reinstate Bafa, the Sultanate is taking the second alternative to remain a part of the global football community, which was listed by Fifa last year.
The first option is the re-registration of Bafa by the local authorities and the second is for a new body to officially apply and be recognised by Fifa.
"The application for a new body (to be recognised by Fifa) can come only after the first body has been expelled," said Thierry Regenass, Fifa's director of member associations, in an email to The Brunei Times on April 2.
The Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in March "guided" Brunei on the steps to be taken if the country were to take the second option.
The AFC Director of Communications and Media, Sean Tohidi, told The Brunei Times then that "the second option is that a new organising body will need to officially apply to Fifa and AFC. Once it has been accepted as a 'provisional member' it will have no voting rights for at least two years.
"Traditionally, the application is first accepted by Fifa and then considered by AFC, but the application can be submitted simultaneously," he added.
The FFBD still has a lot of work to do before Brunei could be back in international football. But Sheikh Nordin hopes that Fifa would take into consideration the federation's hard work in developing football in Brunei, especially at the grassroots level via the Under-16, U-14 and other local leagues and recognise it as the sport's governing body in the Sultanate.The Brunei Times