GEORGE TOWN, Cayman Islands (CNS) — Ezzard Miller, an independent legislator in the Cayman Islands, has called on the territory’s sports minister to audit the books of the local football association to ensure the more than $127,000 that goes to the Cayman Islands Football Association (CIFA) from the public purse is being used properly.
However, Minister Osbourne Bodden responded that CIFA does provide financial returns for the cash and his ministry is satisfied that the funding it gives for the director of football and specific programmes is being used as intended.
Against the backdrop of the massive international FIFA scandal, Miller said government needs to be proactive and send in the auditors to CIFA before international enforcement agencies turn up and do it.
“We need to take action locally,” Miller stated.
Meanwhile, as CIFA faces the cancellation of the Under-15 development tournament, a blow to both the young players and the local economy, it has said its books will be revealed to stakeholders in August at its 49th Annual Congress.
“As usual, annual reports, which include annual audited financial statements will be presented to the membership in advance of the congress. After the congress the annual reports will also be provided to the Cayman Islands ministry of sports and to FIFA, as normal,” said Bruce Blake, CIFA’s acting president, who replaced Jeffrey Webb after his arrest last month in Switzerland in relation to the massive FIFA corruption probe.
Bodden told CNS that government provides only part of the funding CIFA receives but his ministry sees the books regarding how the cash it gives is used. The minister explained that government funds the director of football and a number of specified programmes and, as part of the purchase agreement between CIFA and CIG, they must account for how they use public cash.
However, given the entire circumstances, he expected that CIFA would be the subject of a FIFA review in any event, he said. “I believe that FIFA will audit them, but we are satisfied that government money is used for a fit and proper purpose.”
Nevertheless, he said, going forward the ministry would be taking a closer look at how it is funding CIFA and there was a need for more clarity and transparency.
CIFA executives said Tuesday that they have increased the frequency of meetings and will be updating the community on the local football initiatives more often.
Blake, however, has still not confirmed whether or not the association supported Blatter at the recent FIFA congress in the face of the racketing allegations surrounding Webb and several other FIFA officials, as well as the sports market executives embroiled in one of the largest bribery and corruption scandals the world has ever seen.
The CIFA centre of excellence and the planned pitch, which has caused some controversy, is still going ahead. Blake said in the release that work on the artificial grass field, funded by FIFA’s Goal Project Programme, was progressing.
Republished with permission of Cayman News Service