MFA have not understood what was stated in the NAO report – Audit Office

Thursday, December 5, 2013, 11:36

The National Audit Office made reference to the Press Release issued by the Malta Football Association (MFA) on 28 November 2013 in response to the National Audit Office (NAO) report entitled ‘An Analysis of the National Lotteries Good Causes Fund’.

In its response the Office said the  MFA acknowledges the existence of the agreement signed between the Government of Malta and MFA on 11 February 2012 as a matter of fact. This agreement was the source document regulating the subsequent granting of funds through the National Lotteries Good Causes Fund (NLGCF), and it was in this sense, that the document was utilised, particularly in setting the context as to how MFA came to be in receipt of a €400,000 grant (of which €150,000 had been paid up to the first quarter of 2013). The €5.6 million directly quoted from the agreement signed by Government and MFA was also instrumental in ensuring a clear contextual understanding of the €400,000 NLGCF grant. While NAO acknowledges that assistance provided through this agreement might have gone directly to club level (therefore bypassing MFA), the agreement, nonetheless, makes reference to MFA as the counterparty to Government, and therefore NAO is of the firm opinion that it was in no way misleading or inaccurate in its reporting of fact. At no point throughout the report did NAO delve into the merits of whether the €5.6 million were in fact an allocation of actual funds or a grant in kind. NAO reiterates that the €5.6 million allocation simply provided context to the €400,000, which was what actually formed part of the audit scope and subjected to this Office’s further analysis.

The NAO report is extremely clear and entirely factual with respect to the €400,000 allocated to MFA under the NLGCF. In essence, NAO stated that MFA were to receive €400,000 out of the NLGCF. By the end of the first quarter of 2013, it had in fact received €150,000, and this sum corresponds to three payments of €50,000 each dated 29 May 2012, 30 August 2012 and 28 January 2013. This is confirmed in MFA’s report. However, the MFA report erroneously states that “the MFA did not receive the amount of €150,000 in Q1 of 2013 as stated in the report.” This is clearly incorrect and indicates that MFA have not understood what was stated in the NAO report.

Although the justification of grants exceeding permissible allocations is a matter that should be addressed solely by the administrators of the NLGCF, as MFA is merely a beneficiary in this regard, and bears no obligation to adhere to such guidelines, NAO nonetheless provides further clarification in this respect. The €501,000 aggregate allocation to individual clubs was made according to the established Fund guidelines, as the individual transactions involved in this respect never exceeded the €50,000 limit. On the other hand, the €400,000 allocated to MFA exceeded this threshold. MFA argued that the €400,000 was then reallocated among various of its member football clubs, however, this is irrelevant, as the grant agreement was signed between Government and MFA, and it is in this sense that NAO considers such an agreement to be in breach of established guidelines.

 





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