Sierra Leone soccer head acquitted of corruption charges

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FREETOWN, Sierra Leone (AP) — The head of the Sierra Leone soccer federation has been acquitted of corruption charges, opening the way for FIFA to lift an international ban on the West African country.

Sierra Leone soccer association president Isha Johansen, a popular figure at FIFA, and secretary general Chris Kamara were acquitted because of a lack of evidence nearly two years after first being charged.

They had been accused by the Sierra Leone government's anti-corruption commission of misappropriation of money and abuse of office. FIFA said that was government interference in soccer, which the world body doesn't allow.

FIFA suspended Sierra Leone from international soccer in October and the country was disqualified from the qualifying competition for the African Cup.

FIFA says Johansen and Kamara must be allowed to return to work before the suspension can be lifted.

If it is lifted, Johansen, who is one of few women in charge of a national soccer federation, would be cleared to attend FIFA and Confederation of African Football meetings in Paris next week. Johansen sits on the African soccer body's executive committee.


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