FIFA has suspended Financial Assistance Programme (FAP) payments to the national associations of Somalia, Burundi and Puerto Rico until further notice. During an audit of the 1999 – 2001 period, these associations were not able to provide documentation to substantiate the use of part of the funds they had received.
These decisions were made during a meeting of the FIFA Finance Committee in Zurich on 21 February 2003, based on the relevant provisions in the FAP regulations. According to these regulations, FIFA can request their external auditors KPMG to conduct an audit of any national association – either on the grounds of suspicion or by drawing lots randomly. If any irregularities are then detected during the audit, or if the use of FAP funds cannot be fully supported by the appropriate documents, FIFA may decide to stop payments to the national associations concerned.
In the case of Somalia, an initial audit for the year 2001 revealed that there was either no documentation at all, or where evidence did exist, it was proved to be insufficient to support the use of 84 per cent of payments. The audit process was hindered by the fact that while the association is based in Mogadishu, President Farah Addo conducts day-to-day business from Cairo.
An audit of Burundi's books also revealed that USD 114,000 had not been accounted for. The association is currently under the control of an "interim committee", which has requested a thorough audit of the FAP payments received from FIFA between 2000 and 2002. Similarly, it has not been possible to substantiate the use of all FAP payments made to Puerto Rico. Due to the instability currently prevailing within the association, FIFA has decided to suspend all payments until the situation can be clarified.
Three further associations – Nepal, Vietnam and Chile – were given until April 2003 to provide additional documentation to clarify their use of FAP funds. If these associations fail to meet this request, deductions will be made from their future payments. Honduras also have until April 2003, but are currently striving to answer all outstanding questions. A reduction in payments to the associations of Mauritania and American Samoa (instability) was also recommended.
The Financial Assistance Programme was ratified by the 1996 FIFA Congress in Zurich and has been in operation since 1999. Each national association receives USD 1 million per four-year cycle (originally 1999 – 2002), while each of the six confederations receives USD 10 million. In the second half of this period (2001/2002), 34% of all funding was used to improve infrastructure (buildings, extensions to Goal projects, office equipment, IT systems), 22% to enable teams to take part in competitions, 17% to further develop the grassroots, 15% to cover wage costs (general secretariat, technical departments), 8% to cover other personnel costs and courses, with the remaining 4% used for miscellaneous needs.
The 2002 FIFA Congress in Seoul resolved that the Financial Assistance Programme should continue in the exact same format in the 2003 – 2006 period.