The COPE held on Tuesday (03) directed their special attention towards the payment of Rs. 750,000 to the Chairman of the Elections Committee for the conduct of football elections and the grant of approval for the payment of Rs. 60,000 to its other members.
Given that no official stated that this was paid at the COPE meeting held on the 22nd of April 2021, the COPE Chairman Prof. Charitha Herath stated that it is suspicious to now state that it was paid on the 20th of April.
The Chair recalled that the COPE had also issued a recommendation to investigate on the mater and take steps to formalize the methodology.
The Committee directed Anuradha Wijekoon, Secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to conduct an internal investigation and submit a report to the Committee within two weeks.
The Committee paid special attention to the misappropriation of finances by the former President of the Football Federation Mr. Manilal Fernando of 40,400 (Rs.6,287,670) euros donated by the Italian Football Association for the construction of the Kalutara Football Stadium, $ 60,000 (Rs.6,415,290) granted to hold matches by the Asian Football Confederation, A sum of Rs. 10 million provided by a private company for the construction of 20 houses for the tsunami victims and $ 200,000 donated by the Asian Football Confederation.
The Chairman of the Committee, Prof. Charitha Herath, also directed the Secretary to the Secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports, Anuradha Wijekoon to conduct an internal investigation into the incident and submit a report to the COPE Committee as soon as possible.
The COPE expressed their displeasure for not recovering Rs. 46,860,672 obtained by the former finance manager of the Football Federation entering fake names as match referees which was revealed in August 2020. The Chairman of the Committee further recommended to the Secretary to the Secretary to the Ministry of Youth and Sports to look into this matter and inform the Committee immediately.
It was revealed at the COPE meeting that the total amount of advances given by the Federation to the tournament organizers for sports competitions and sports conferences but not settled was Rs. 2,252,067 in 2018 and Rs. 1,465,997 in 2019.
Also, the COPE informed the Football Federation of Sri Lanka to amend the constitution of the Football Federation as soon as possible.
The Chairman of the Committee Prof. Charitha Herath further stated that the term of office of the office bearers of the Federation should be increased from 01 year to 04 years through these amendments.
The committee pointed out that although 10 members were elected to the executive council of the Football Federation, the chairman appoints 18 other members which is problematic.
The Committee further recommended that the 18 vacancies at present be left vacant until the Constitution of the Football Federation is amended. It was also revealed that the Federation prepared corporate plan for the year 2030 had not been approved by the Executive Committee.
The Committee also questioned the Football Federation on their failure to submit an action plan from 2017 to 2020 for approval of the Executive Committee.
Hon. Minister Rohitha Abeygunawardena and Hon. State Minister Indika Anuruddha and Hon. Members of Parliament Rauf Hakeem, Patali Champika Ranawaka, Jagath Pushpakumara, Eran Wickramaratne, Premnath C. Dolawatte, B.Y.G Ratnasekera, S.M. Rasamanickam, Mr. Amal Edirisooriya, Director General of the Department of Sports Development, Mr. Jaswar Umar President of the Sri Lanka Football Federation along with other officials of the Football Federation were present at the meeting. – COPE