Guyana Football Federation (GFF) 2016 audited financial statements, was officially approved by the general council yesterday following a 17-0, at its Extraordinary Congress at the National Racquet Centre, Woolford Avenue.
The financial report, which was audited by Ram and McRae Chartered Accountants, was adopted by the congress, with only one member abstaining during the voting process.
GFF President Wayne Forde during the address to media operatives said, “Today was heavy lifting at the GFF Extraordinary Congress, but I am pleased to report that the members responded very positively, we had some engaging conversations on every aspect of the operations of football as it relates to the items on the agenda.”
According to Forde, “We had 18 members attending congress today and on the issue of the GFF audited financial statements and consolidated accounts, we had 17 members voting to approve those accounts and one member abstaining. On the matter relating to 2018 budget, we had 17 members voting and one member abstaining. I would say we had a tremendous congress today and it came on the backdrop of what we considered to be a very misleading and mischievous article that found its way into the press a few days ago, that has really created shock and discomfort within the sponsorship and business community and within our membership.”
The news article was published on December 14th in the Guyana Chronicle.
However, Forde affirmed, “So the auditor went to pain with our finance team to explain to the membership that absolutely no money of the Guyana Football Federation is missing, has been stolen or has been embezzled by anyone, including the staff of the federation and the executive committee. May I reiterate, that every member of the executive committee including the President, who puts in an average 14 hours a day, seven days a week, is paid absolutely nothing for the service we bring to the sport.”
He added, “So it was troubling to us when we received multiple calls from our sponsors, and other stakeholders after they would have consumed that article but I am so happy today that we can come before you the media and our members to make it absolutely clear. In fact, the technical language that is used in an audit report is one that should be examined and evaluated by people that possess the requisite competence to write accurately on these matters.”
According to Forde, “The audit process is one where the auditors in their examination of the payables, which is one of the qualifications, they reached out to suppliers to have amounts that were on our books, because we have all the invoices and everything that represents our total liability which is around 89 million, they reached out to our suppliers to verify those amounts that are on our books and many of our suppliers did not respond. Those that responded indicated variances. It is in that, the qualification was mentioned. It is a very technical aspect because it goes towards the completeness of the transaction but it can easily be perceived if it’s not handled carefully and if it is not discussed at the technical financial level, and it gets out into the public prematurely that there is something amiss.”
He further stated, “We have been working over the past two years to restructure the financial operation of the federation. We came into a system that was essentially manual based, it was an excel platform, it was ledgers. We purchased very early in out tenure the QuickBooks package and we now have a QuickBooks platform. We have made several changes to our cash management operation but there are still many endemic problems that we inherited with the financial operation of the federation. We have amounts that affect our financial statements that come all the way from 2012 all the way to 2017. These are technical financial issues and if it is not carefully reported on, it can lead the public in a direction that doesn’t augur well for football in general and for relationships with our external partners.”
“I very happy and excited to declare to the members and the general public that the finances of the GFF is in good hands. We are doing a lot of work, for 2017 our goal is to present a financial report without any qualifications. We are working on developing management account reports that will come out every quarter to be shared with the general public and the membership. We want to get to a level of financial transparency that is not only necessary to restore confidence in the operation of football but it’s the conditions that have been laid out by FIFA. As you probably know, the vote of the approval of the finances today takes us one step closer to full restoration of funding from FIFA. This is an exciting day for football, we have presented GYD$165,000,000 in projects in our budget and next 2018 and 2019 will be a robust couple of years for football development.”