The governing body of African football, Caf, has said the findings of an audit that concluded it was unreliable and untrustworthy are “unfounded”.
Details of the audit, by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), emerged during the week. Amongst its findings, the audit questioned the body’s accounting, its governance, and its payments, which it found to be “unreliable and not trustworthy.”
The audit also highlighted transactions totalling more than $20m (£15.4m) which either have “little or no supporting documentation” or were considered “higher risk”.
But following an Executive Committee meeting in Doha on Friday, Caf released a statement addressing the audit and what it claims are “unfounded allegations contained in the report.”
It said officials from PwC were invited to the meeting but had “failed to make it.”
The statement specifically sought to address three areas in which questions had been raised: support payments made for the funerals of “individuals who have served African football”; the use of development funds linked to the Fifa Forward project; a deal with the little-known gym equipment maker Tactical Steel to supply sportswear.
Caf said the funeral payments were “acts of solidarity in support of families”, specifically naming the family of senior Kenyan football official Hussein Swaleh, who died in the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines plane crash.
It also said the use of Fifa Forward funds had been “strictly governed by procedures set by Fifa.” PwC’s audit had reviewed just under $10m of Fifa Forward payments to Caf and found only five of the 40 payments “appeared to be aligned to purpose” while the rest, totalling some $8.3m, either had “little or no supporting documentation” or were considered “unusual/higher risk”.
The Tactical Steel deal, into which the PwC report recommended an investigation, was also addressed, though Caf said only that “the procedures are before various jurisdictions” and that it was “ready to provide the relevant justification for the matter as previously authorised by the Caf Executive Committee.”
Anaylsis by Mark Gleeson, African football journalist
This response has come out in two parts.
The first is an effort to try to explain away some of the financial accusations that were delivered against Caf in the recent audit which has caused a fair amount of controversy over the last couple of weeks.
But the statement really is not convincing at all in its efforts to try and explain away some of the major financial improprieties that have been highlighted.
The second part is a further explanation of a roadmap to transformation – pretty much the same stuff that we’ve seen over the last two years now.
They’ve consistently told us of plans to change the game – yet it seems that we’re still stuck in the same circle that we’ve been in since the change of regime at Caf.