`Show me the evidence!’ Urling tells GFF president

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Clinton Urling

FOLLOWING Guyana Football Federation’s (GFF) president Wayne Forde comments that several ‘red flags’ were raised from an investigation into the audits of the ‘books’ under the FIFA-installed Normalisation Committee, Clinton Urling, the former committee chairman, is challenging the Federation’s head to provide evidence to substantiate his statement.

Forde, in a recent interview spoke of the GFF’s inability to receive their usual FIFA subvention due to recommendations that came out of an audit investigation conducted by Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC), specifically related to the 11-month period of Urling’s Normalisation Committee tenure.

According to Forde, the audit identified a number of ‘red flags’ forcing FIFA to place Guyana under conditional funding, thereby creating limited access to developmental funding – a situation that did not totally stymie the development of the sport here, but severely affected the Federation’s ability to offer much-needed support to Member Associations (MAs) for them to execute their respective programmes.
“Since it is alleged that many (red flags) occurred, it would be helpful to the public for the GFF to quote the many specific infractions as identified in the audit document and state specifically what the GFF is doing to ensure those anomalies identified do not occur in the future” Urling told Chronicle Sport yesterday.

“This confounding revelation leaves more questions than answers. If the funding was in fact blocked, where did the GFF receive moneys from for the countless initiatives, as outlined in depth in the article, since assuming office almost two years ago, including paying staff and the upcoming international friendly against Grenada and the frequent international travel by the president and executives?” Urling stated.

GFF president Wayne Forde

Urling, said all the spending and moneys received by the Normalisation Committee “was chronicled and presented to the electoral Congress in November 2015 and that data was publicly posted on the GFF’s website and can easily be obtained by any person or journalist from the GFF’s office. Those available documents can substantiate the financial data of our tenure.”

“At no point has FIFA, the authority which appointed the Normalisation Committee, contacted any member of the Committee for any verification or comment on any audit conducted. Also, how can Forde say on the one hand no funding was received but yet since the NC’s departure, and currently, the GFF has engaged in many activities, including several international friendlies for both male and female at youth and senior levels and concluded two seasons of the ‘elite league’. Something just doesn’t add up,” Urling declared.

Urling reasoned that when the Normalisation Committee members were asked to volunteer by FIFA to rectify the many challenges facing the GFF, a robust financial system with reporting mechanisms was implemented.
“We hired a finance director to work with the finance officer at the time Christine Jones and both individuals were responsible for preparing all vouchers that had to meet the scrutiny of then General Secretary Richard Groden before being presented to Dr Karen Pilgrim and I to sign as joint account officer of the GFF, in our capacities as Chair and Vice-Chair,” said Urling.

He continued, “Shortly after we handed over the reins to the current GFF executives, we saw the resignations of several accounting department personnel, including those hired by the current executives.

“Additionally we saw the GFF change two General Secretaries in a short time span. Much has to be asked about the current administrative turbulence, which one hopes does not slide the GFF back to a situation of needing another Normalisation Committee.”