14 June 2012

Gambia: GFA Treasurer Reacts

The treasurer of the Gambia Football Association (GFA), Kemo Ceesay has strongly denied claims made by the permanent secretary at the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Mambanycik Njie, regarding the image rights benefits that the country's football governing body received from its international affiliates.

PS Njie had said that for every FIFA home match, football's world governing body gives The Gambia $ 100,000 as a preparation fee while the continental governing body, CAF gives out $ 50,000 as they are entitled. He said these monies received by national football associations if properly and judiciously used can address lots of problems confronting the national teams.

Mambanyick further stated that considering the number of games that The Gambia played at home, it means enough money has been coming which should sustain the game. He added that they have put in place a firm financial management at the FA and upon the expiration of the mandate of the Normalisation Committee, the Ministry will only play a supporting role in running the country's national teams. But Kemo Ceesay said he has never had of anything like that since he got employed at the Football Association.

His words: "I started working with the GFA in July 2002 and I have never witnessed such before. If the PS said every home game that the GFA received monies from FIFA and CAF, he is not specific and that could mean even the U-17 and U-20s and what would the public think of that."

Ceesay explained that the Confederation of African Football has signed a contract with Sport Five as its broadcasting partners and it is only when they cover a particular game that the national federation is entitled to a percentage. He revealed that the $100,000 he said was to come from FIFA will only take effect from June 2012.

He said the Gambia's home game against Burkina Faso in Banjul was the only home game that was televised by the Sport Five and upon completion of the qualifiers; CAF deducted all the expenditures that the French Broadcasting Corporation incurred in Banjul after which $41,000 was sent to the FA.

"From the recent direct correspondent that I received from FIFA dated on the 18th of April, it communicated from CAF that effect from June 2012, national federations will benefit from any home game televised by Sport Five, the host association will receive that benefit but this will only come after the completion of the qualifiers when all the deductions were made on the costs incurred by the TV Company," Kemo added while revealing that he had on several occasions invited the permanent secretary to have a thorough look at the accounts of the FA anytime he wants, but the latter never turned up.

The permanent secretary also spoke about an undeclared account at ECO Bank by the previous GFA executive. But the manager of Steve Biko FC said that account was never managed by the FA but rather by the Super Nawettan clubs.

He continued: "After the renaming of the Super Nawettan, they have a special committee which agreed that they should open an account where they would deposit all the monies that they receive because they don't want their money to be paid to the GFA main account.

They (the Super Nawettan teams) wanted to be the signatories to that account but the then Executive decided that the Super Nawettan teams can manage the account but the Executive members will be the signatories so that was how that account was opened at ECO Bank and how can I declare an account that I did not manage."

The GFA treasurer did however, confirm that money was paid into that account on behalf of the GFA from the previous qualifiers. But he said that was solely done in an effort to lay hands of the money to pay two months due staff salary since any attempt to pay to their direct accounts will see the money deducted having taken undertakings from their respective banks.

He explains: "That money came at a time when the GFA was owing Guaranty Trust Bank GMD850,000, Skye Bank GMD400,00 and we also took an overdraft at Trust Bank to help finance the game against Algeria and the agreement was that we will have instant banking and the Trust Bank team was present at the game upon completion, we had to bank all the money that we generated from the game to settle the loan.

"So the money from CAF came just two days after the previous Executive was dissolved. When I got a tip that the money was to arrive, we ensured that the money is paid into that ECO Bank account since any attempt to pay into our personal accounts will see the banks deduct the undertakings we have made and we did not pay our staff salary for two months.

So after the money arrived, the Ministry had then dissolved the previous Executive but because there was no letter from them to inform us on the development, I was instructed by Seedy [Kinteh former GFA President] to write a letter to ECO Bank to instruct the transfer of the money to Trust Bank and after we settle them, we can take the remaining money to pay our staff salary and it was clearly stated in that letter."

Kemo Ceesay also revealed that the country is still owed money by CAF from the home game against Algeria in February since it was televised by Sport Five. But he said that money will only be available when the country ends its qualifiers, meaning the money will immediately be released if the Scorpions failed to advance past Algeria in the second leg of the CAF 2013 qualifiers on Friday.

He added that the television money from the present world cup qualifiers will only be available at the end of The Gambia's participation in the qualifiers.

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