The decision by the world governing body for football (FIFA) to block funding to the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) resulted from the findings of a 2015 Central Review performed by the accounting firm Pricewaterhouse Coopers, according to documents seen by Stabroek Sport.
According to a correspondence from FIFA dated September 26th 2016, on the subject of the Official 2015 Central Review – Key Findings Report from PwC, in relation to the Normalization Committee Tenure, signed by General Secretary Fatma Samoura, which was seen by this publication yesterday, Samoura, in an e-mail to Merson Jones, then General Secretary of the GFF, explained the Audit and Compliance Commit-tee’s decision to block the GFF from accessing FIFA funding.
“On 10 October 2016 the Audit and Compliance Committee agreed to block funding to the Football Federation of Guyana. The decision has been taken based on the findings of the 2015 Central Review performed by PwC. In light of the decision, all FIFA funds will be withheld,” Samoura wrote.
President of the GFF Wayne Forde recently said that an investigation into the 11-month tenure of the Normalisation Committee headed by businessman Clinton Urling had produced several “red flags”.
However, Urling in an interview in the Guyana Chronicle, challenged the GFF president Forde to provide the evidence.
“This confounding revelation leaves more questions than answers. If the funding was in fact blocked, where did the GFF receive moneys from for the countless initiatives, as outlined in depth in the article, since assuming office almost two years ago, including paying staff and the upcoming international friendly against Grenada and the frequent international travel by the president and executives?” Urling was quoted as saying.
According to the Guyana Chronicle report, Urling argued that all the spending and moneys received by the Normalisation Committee was chronicled and presented to the GFF Electoral Congress in November 2015 and that data was publicly posted on the GFF’s website.
“Those available documents can substantiate the financial data of our tenure,” Urling declared.
Meanwhile a summary of the Central Review Results seen by this newspaper stated: “In performing the described procedure, we detected a misuse of funds defined as cases where the use of FIFA Development Funds could not be traced to supporting documentation or was not aligned with FIFA prescribed purpose or other noncompliance with FIFA regulations. These findings require immediate action.”
FIFA subsequently laid out the conditions the GFF would have to satisfy in an effort to resume accessing the FIFA Development Funds.
“In order to resume funding, FIFA requests that the Football Federation of Guyana formally prepare and provide to FIFA the specific response to each finding and the proposed remediation plan to mitigate the findings identified by PwC. We would like to work together with you, to provide necessary support and agree on remediation steps to be implemented. Once the agreed remediation steps have been fully achieved, the FIFA funds may be released,” FIFA wrote.
“We understand that this is a time consuming process. We are here to provide whatever support you may need to improve processes and structures to mitigate these findings. In emergency cases we will assess support that may be provided to you in order to ensure that operations may continue. We are confident that by following this path together, we will continue our work to regain the trust of our partners and stakeholders. Finally, we would like to again emphasize that we are here to support you in this process. Please feel free to contact the FIFA Chief Compliance Officer Edward Hanover (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you should have any questions or concerns,” Samoura wrote.
When contacted GFF President Wayne Forde in an invited comment said, “It’s a very sensitive issue, it is regrettable that is in the public domain, but it is important that the GFF does not allow anyone to malign its efforts to develop the game. The executive committee is done with the matter and will not comment on it further.”
According to reports, the Normalization Committee received almost US$1,000,000 (approximately GUY$203,000,000) during its tenure while the Wayne Forde-GFF administration claims to have inherited less than GUY$3,000,000.