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Jul 04, 2013 Sports
– Glaring omissions cited in GOAL Project document
By Rawle Welch
“The Congress has mooted that the full arm of the law be utilised should any evidence of criminal culpability be found regarding the Mexico game switch and the FIFA /CONCACAF disbursements for the development of football,” President of the Guyana Football Federation (GFF) Christopher Matthias told Kaieteur Sport, during an interview on Tuesday, at the entity’s Headquarters, Section’K’, Campbellville.
According to Matthias, members of the General Council at the recently held General Congress gave the go-ahead for the Federation to appoint a three-man Integrity Committee to investigate whether or not there was any financial wrongdoing on behalf of the previous administration.
Matthias, who took over the reins of power after defeating three other candidates for the Presidency on April 12, said the Mexico issue has attracted the attention of CONCACAF who he informed is currently doing its own investigation regarding the alleged payment of US1.2million the GFF received for switching the World Cup qualifier between Guyana and Mexico to the USA.
“It has been advanced that the money was paid and used as preparations for the World Cup campaign and we will now leave it to the Audit & Integrity Committees to undertake a forensic probe and make their pronouncements and the course of action to be taken,” Matthias disclosed.
He added that the GFF met with Ram & McRae Chartered Accountants and agreed that the entity will conduct the audit as approved by the Congress and this exercise is anticipated to commence shortly.
Regarding the document from CONCACAF that is intended to report its findings of the investigation into the management of FIFA and CONCACAF resources given to the previous GFF administration, Matthias said it has not been made available to him as yet, but he still expects to receive it.
Armed with a financial report which showed that over the past 15 years the GFF received in excess of $1.3billion, Matthias informed that the Congress was shocked to hear that a mere $50,000 was in the saving account when it was considered how much money had passed through the administration with nothing tangible to show for it.
According to the GFF Head, the Congress concluded that if the business of the GFF was to develop football then the entity should not have to be indebted to any creditor, particularly the travel agency, hotel industry or the national team.
Matthias in commenting on the long awaited GOAL Project said that its construction has been delayed due to quite a few anomolies that the Executive Committee found in the Document.
“The three documents purporting to deal with the Project have several variances with each other. One talks about the applicable laws dealing with Sweden, while another deals with Guyana so right away you see the variance,” Matthias noted.
He pointed out that another glaring omission is the fact that there is no reference with regards to the completion of the Project thereby questioning how the GFF could engage in a Project that has no date of completion.
Matthais said it means that you simply cannot hold the Contractor to account for missed timelines etc.
Additionally, Matthias bemoaned the absence of any reference to specification on the feasibility study and this he said has allowed the Executive Committee to conclude that should the Project go through without those insertions it would be a colossal failure.
The Congress has now given them a mandate to tabulate their findings and report it to them and FIFA / CONCACAF as soon as possible.
He revealed that the GFF is proceeding in that direction and very soon FIFA /CONCACAF will be notified.
Asked how the delay will affect the Project, Matthias said the only effect it will have is in terms of the earlier declared timeframe which will now have to be adjusted, but assured that the Executive Committee is adamant that the Project be built to serve those it is intended to serve for a very long time, hence the detailed scrutiny.
He added that there was a genuine concern expressed at the Congress as to whether there was any real intention to construct the Project or whether it was a façade to create an environment for FIFA’s money to come in to be utilised in other areas and not necessarily for the development of football.
Matthias informed that Vice-President Rawleston Adams, an Engineer by profession, has consented to offer his service to reconstruct the document free of cost (Gratis).
He said he will be contacting FIFA for its approval, while offering recommendations on how the GFF would like the document to be structured.
Meanwhile, Matthias disclosed that Council members congratulated the Federation for its transparent approach in attempting to ascertain the true and accurate financial position of the entity and its new and inclusive approach to governance.
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