The Board of Internal Auditors confirmed that for five years, between 2002/03 and 2006/07, the association failed to distribute UEFA solidarity payments to clubs in full. This was the result of an audit which was commissioned by the Council of the Malta Football Association in September after MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo had revealed that the funds were not distributed in full to clubs as indicated by UEFA.
Reading the findings of the report, board chairman Silvio Galea said that in a statement by UEFA regarding solidarity payments in season 2002/03, member associations had to transfer the full amount to clubs. However this was not the case as for five years, the MFA retained part of the sum.
In 2002/03, the MFA received €182,802 but transferred only €167,714 with the remaining amount staying in the MFA coffers. The following season, the association received €174,184 but only €165,386 were transferred to the clubs, Youth FA and Gozo YFA with the association therefore retaining €8,768. In the mean time, when writing to UEFA, the association inflated the figures of the amounts distributed to clubs, YFA and GYFA in order to match with the amount given by the European body. This continued to happen until 2006/07.
In 2004/05, the MFA retained €15,363 out of the €180,648; in 2005/06 €14,898 out of the €179,884 and in 2006/07, €12,122 out of the €182,166 received. In all around €68,000 of the amounts due to clubs remained in the association’s coffers.
Among those interviewed by the board was vice-president Ludovigo Micallef, general secretary Joe Gauci, former treasurer and now vice-president Alex Manfre and former president Dr Joe Mifsud.
Dr Mifsud claimed that Ludovigo Micallef and Joe Gauci were assisting him in the calculation of money to be distributed to the various clubs, YFA and GYFA. However Gauci said that although he signed the letter attached to the form which was submitted to UEFA, he never knew the real amount. Micallef, on the other hand, stated that although he was involved in the calculation of the money to be distributed to each of the clubs, he worked on the amount Dr Mifsud told him to work on and never knew whether that was the actual sum given by UEFA.
The issue first came to light in 2008 when Norman Darmanin Demajo had sent a letter to MFA General Secretary Joe Gauci in which he called on the association to set up a board of inquiry to investigate the matter. However Dr Mifsud and the Council at the time turned down this request with the former MFA President saying that he preferred taking the matter to Court.
Speaking to the Council, MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo said this sort of abuse had been going on for years, mentioning the UEFA Mini-Pitches as another example. Darmanin Demajo said the one million Swiss Franks were supposed to cover installation as well. However clubs were charged and eventually, a profit of €150,000 from this venture went into the MFA accounts. He also said that the sum clubs were charged for the installation was actually larger than what the contractor was charging.
The MFA President stressed that such cases should never happen again and the €68,000 should be credited to the clubs’ accounts.
Meanwhile the Council asked the Board of Internal Auditors to investigate the issue further to see whether persons related to the matter were aware of what was going on or were misled.