Liberia's World Cup woes averted

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Saturday, September 3, 2005

In a last minute change of position, the National Transitional Government of Liberia (NTGL) has reversed its decision not to allow the Liberian National football team, The Lone Star, to attend Sunday's World Cup qualifier against Togo. The NTGL had announced on Wednesday that the squad would not be able to travel to Lome, Togo because of a lack of funds to pay for the team's travel.

In a statement explaining its decision not to fund the team's travel, the NTGL highlighted more pressing financial obligations such as the country's upcoming national elections and the demobilization of the nation's defunct armed forces. "As a result of the huge expenditure, the National Transitional Government of Liberia has decided it is unfeasible to underwrite the Lone Star's travel to Togo," said the Minister of Information, Dr. C. William Allen.

The decision to allow The Lone Star to travel to Lome was made after the price of the team's travel decreased from US$31,000 to US$18,000. The team now plans to fly to Accra and take a bus to Lome versus fly the entire way. Had Liberia failed to take the field on Sunday, the country would have faced fines of US$31,895 and possible prohibition from participating in the 2010 World Cup to be held in South Africa. Incidentally, the fines would have been slightly more than the team's original travel budget.