|Home | Contact us | Links | Archives|
Somalia Football Chief Accused Of Misconduct, Suspended
By Guled Mohamed
MOGADISHU, Feb 25, 2007 – The Somali Football Federation's president is under FIFA investigation for allegedly mismanaging thousands of dollars intended to pay staff salaries and telephone bills, a leading Somali official said on Sunday.
Abdiqani Said, secretary-general of the Somali Football Federation (SFF) -- surprisingly active in a nation mired in anarchy for 16 years -- told Reuters that President Muhyidin Hassan Ali illegally withdrew over $100,000, leaving only $600 behind.
In a letter addressed to Ali seen by Reuters, world governing body FIFA demanded to know the reason for the withdrawal and said it was investigating.
Said said Ali was suspended on Feb. 17.
"He mismanaged $101,076 meant to pay salary arrears for three years and telephone bills. He replaced me as a signatory without the knowledge of the executive," the SFF secretary-general said.
Contacted for comment, Ali told Reuters he was busy attending a meeting.
In the absence of central rule in the country since the toppling of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre in 1991, the Somali national team has performed dismally due to lack of funds.
The Somali squad assembles only a few days before tournaments and practises at the dilapidated Mogadishu stadium, nearly ruined by years of anarchy.
"The team often practises under a lot of hardship," a former Somalia coach, declining to be named, told Reuters.
"The main problem is the insecurity. The players are paid 20,000 Somali shillings (less than $2) as fare after practices."
Said said recent violence in the capital has forced them to cancel football matches, which are well attended by Somalis -- who are huge football fans.
"Mortars are hitting everywhere. We cannot guarantee the safety of the spectators," he told Reuters. "We are working very closely with the Ministry of Sports to try to address the insecurity."