The Football Federation of Sri Lanka (FFSL) is currently facing a financial crisis that almost all of its activities have come to a standstill. Sri Lanka’s Football current administration has failed to secure its stronghold financially despite boasting of huge savings through fixed deposits.
The Football House may face a difficult time even to maintain its permanent staff in the very near future. They might not get paid after a month or two, according to reliable information. Adding salt to the wound, the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) has notified FFSL that it has withheld from the annual funds after a major financial fraud was discovered in July.
The FFSL took the matter up with the law enforcement authorities once they discovered that its Financial Director has misused a sum of Rs. 28 million during an undisclosed period. However now it has been discovered from the Rs. 28 million involved in the fraud the said Director has taken out a Rs.18million since January this year.
The matter has reached the Criminal Investigation Division (CID) of the Police and it is also understood that FFSL is also on the verge of forming a committee to investigate the fraud. However with the inquiry and other matters relating to this fraud making a slow or no progress at all, the AFC has officially made FFSL aware that its annual funds will be stalled pending inquiry.
“The AFC has notified us that they have stopped the annual payments until further notice.” This was confirmed by the General Secretary of FFSL, Jaswar Umar.
Accordingly FFSL will miss out the remaining quarter of the total annual grant of US$ 250,000. The FFSL has already received three quarters up to date but with once the fraud was discovered, its coffers are gradually becoming empty. So much so it may totally run out of cash in two months. The situation has aggravated to a level that even the global governing body of Football, FIFA are currently contemplating on discontinuing its annual grant to Sri Lanka, which amounts to US$ 500,000.
“FIFA is currently monitoring the situation in Sri Lanka closely. Please understand we cannot comment further at this stage,” the FIFA spokesperson stated.
Reliable information reveal that the now Financial Director in question has pledged to return all the money he siphoned out after the Police and CID took over the case. However the situation of FFSL will not turn back to normal even if that happens as it has failed to convince the regional and global bodies of future plans and projects.
The FFSL dissolved its national teams of all age groups and released the national coaching staff earlier in July until further notice. Few of its major domestic tournaments were at risk of being forfeited this year after many of its sponsors pulled out due to various reasons. But with a last minute positive discussion with sponsors, FFSL managed to secure the Dialog Champions League 2017, which will kick off next week.