PFF submits accounts to authorities for audit [Dawn]

KARACHI, June 17: The sports ministry has received the account details from Pakistan Football Federation (PFF) to start auditing the federation’s accounts including one-million-dollar FIFA’s grant.

The ministry of sports is doing what it had pledged almost a month ago — to check the PFF accounts, especially the FIFA’s aid for the youth soccer development.

A senior Pakistan Sports Board (PSB) official confirmed the board had received the account details from PFF and PSB had started the audit to detect any wrongdoings.

“The PFF was given a deadline to send its account details. The PSB has received the account reports (of the PFF) and are analysing them through auditors to see if any misappropriation has been done,” director general of the PSB, Brig Saulat Abbas, said Monday.

The official said it would take at least 10 to 15 days to reach a conclusion after which action would be taken.

Although the PFF annual audit reports have also been sought, the amount from the game’s world governing body is what the ministry of sports is focussing.

Critics say the government’s intervention into the sorry state of football affairs of the country may result in FIFA’s wrath and the PFF could be suspended.

But Saulat strongly contended by saying government had all the right to determine the root cause of the dismal scenario and to weed out corrupt officials.

“If the concerned officials are looting the FIFA money instead of using it for the youth programme, then the government has the right to intervene,” Saulat said.

The federal sports minister, Col S.K. Tressler (retd), on whose directives the PSB has taken up the job to probe into the PFF accounts also brushed aside the arguments in favour of PFF.

“As an independent country Pakistan government can investigate its football federation’s affairs. The money the PFF has been sanctioned by FIFA is the national wealth and the officials are not free to misuse it.

“That’s why we are auditing PFF accounts including the amount it received from FIFA. I reiterate stern action will be taken if I receive any negative report,” the minister said.

The PFF became perhaps the richest sports body of the country after the Pakistan Cricket Board, after it was chosen for the FIFA’s Financial Assistance Programme in 1999.

Of the one-million-dollar funds, the PFF has received three $250,000 instalments, while the last tranche of the same amount is due later this year.

The national federation expects at least another $400,000 package as part of FIFA’s Goal Project for which Pakistan was selected last year.

FIFA deals strictly with the countries where government intervenes into football federations. It had suspended Kenya Football Federation when Kenya’s sports minister Francis Nyenze dissolved the national soccer body on May 17 and froze its bank accounts, saying the officials were involved in financial irregularities.

Tanzania Football Association was meted out same treatment by FIFA when association’s officials disbanded the national executive committee in 2000 following allegations of mismanagement of the FIFA funds.