MFA issues report in criticism of National Audit Office report

MFA-HeadquartersThe Malta Football Association issued a statement in which it referred to the Report by the National Audit Office, entitled “An Analysis on the National Lotteries Good Causes Fund” and which was presented in Parliament on the 26th November, stating that the Report contains various inaccuracies and erroneous figures and assumptions, which have led the Maltese public to believe that the Government, in years 2012 and 2013 has allocated to the MFA the amount of €5,689,243, which amount does not correspond to the real amount received by the MFA in the construction of various football pitches around Malta and Gozo for the benefit of Maltese and Gozitan children.

The MFA stated that the funds received actually did not exceed €150,000 and were not requested by the MFA for its projects but were requested on behalf of member clubs in order to upgrade their facilities.

The following are excerpts from the report by the Malta Football Association:

“In Articles 2.3.1 and 2.3.2 of the Report, the NAO has stated that the MFA and the Government had signed an agreement on the 11th February 2012, whereby the MFA has to receive funding from the Government in the amount of €5,689,243. The report states that these amounts were to be paid to the MFA in 2012 and 2013.”

“Whilst confirming that it is correct to state that an agreement was signed between the Government and the MFA on the 11th February 2012, an analysis of the figures shows that in actual fact, the real amount of funds received by the MFA are not more than €592,250.”

“Moreover, the MFA would like to point out, that it fails to understand why, in a report analysing the National Lotteries Good Causes Fund, the NAO felt the need to include in such report figures on allocations and subsidies by the Government to Maltese football which have no connection whatsoever with the Good Causes Fund.”

“Article 2.3.3, 2.3.4 and 2.3.5 of the Report state that the MFA received approximately Eur 1 million in direct allocation from the National Lotteries Good Causes Fund. In Article 2.3.3 the Report states that the MFA received €400,000 from such fund directly. The MFA objects to this statement which is based on the assumption that the amount stated in the contract between the Government and the MFA of the 11th February 2012 is really €400,000. The facts show that whilst the MFA has indeed received the sum of €150,000 on the 29th May 2012, 30th August 2012 and 28th January 2013, the MFA did not receive the amount of Eur 150,000 in Q1 of 2013 as stated in the report. Moreover, it is indeed wrong to state that the MFA received €400,000 when in actual fact the Report acknowledges that the sum received does not tally to that amount.”

“In relation to any excess that the MFA may be perceived to have received from the €50,000 maximum amount of funds to be allocated according to the Good Causes Fund guidelines, the Report does not take into consideration the fact, that an agreement had been reached between the the MFA and the Government whereby, funds that had to be allocated directly to clubs, which funds were used in the construction of new football pitches, were requested by and distributed to the MFA, on behalf of these clubs, in order to collect the money that the MFA was going to spend on the construction of these grounds, and the money received from the Good Causes Fund in one account, and this to make the processes of payment simpler and more efficient. Therefore, it is absolutely wrong to state that an amount received by the MFA is in excess of the amount permitted by the guidelines, as such amount was not received by the MFA for the use of the MFA.”

“Moreover, in Article 2.3.4 the Report states that a total of €501,000 was distributed directly to clubs for their own needs. This is correct, however the last sentence of the paragraph states that,”The grant to MFA exceeded permissible allocations”. Once again the MFA points out that the €501,000 distributed directly to clubs cannot be considered to have been distributed to the MFA as these clubs, although being members of the MFA, are separate legal entities, owned by their members and not by the MFA.”

“Therefore, whist confirming that the conclusions in Article 2.3.5 are erroneous, the MFA declares that in actual fact it did not receive any direct funding from the Good Causes Fund. This implies that in relation to the MFA the Report is factually wrong when stating that the MFA received funds in excess of permissible allocations.”

“The MFA would like to point out that in its concluding remarks in Article 2.6.1 “Overall Opinions” states that, “The guidelines also stipulate that the total contributions towards and one proposed project should not exceed €50,000 while promoters would commit themselves to co-finance their project by a minimum of 33 per cent of its total cost.” The MFA fully agrees with the co-­financing aspect of the Good Causes Fund, so much so, that when one calculates the amount of money spent by the MFA on the construction of football pitches in Malta and Gozo, which amount to over 22 million Euro, to the amount received by the Good Causes Fund, which is €150,000, the percentage of the total costs actually covered by the MFA amounts to 99.32%, with 0.68% received from the Good Causes Fund.”

“The document shows the real figures actually received by the MFA from direct government funding and from the Good Causes Fund. The MFA would like to point out that normally it does not enter into the merits on what is being discussed in Parliament as the MFA is independent of any political party. The MFA stresses that it has always had and has an excellent relationship with both the Labour Party and the Nationalist Party, who have both strived in the advancement of football and all kinds of sport whenever they have been entrusted with leading the Government.”

“However, the MFA cannot allow the spreading of misinformation to the public and therefore has produced this report to explain facts, in contrast to the Report which is based on assumptions and unverified documentation. The MFA, believes that it has addressed this issue in the most exhaustive way and will not comment any further on the Report. However, the MFA would like to point out that had the Auditor General sent for the MFA in order to check and discuss its figures, the MFA would have most gladly accepted the invitation. No invitation was sent to the MFA, and that is why, unfortunately, the figures presented in the Report do not correspond to solid fact.”