Thursday, July 7, 2022

Taylor’s future still uncertain despite FIFA delegation findings

It is hard not to feel sorry for Botswana Football Association (BFA) Secretary General Goabaone Taylor. Barely eight months into her job, the suspended secretary general is likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.

This is despite the initial findings of the FIFA delegation that there was no ‘misappropriation or embezzlement of funds’ at the BFA as initially suspected. Rather, the delegation, which had come at the request of the BFA had found that there had been a ‘misallocation’ of funds.

According to sources, while in Botswana, the three-man delegation, which included former BFA president David Fani interviewed all people of interest, among them Taylor and also looked into the BFA finances in a bid to get to the truth. At the end of their four days stay on Tuesday, the delegation presented its initial findings to the BFA National Executive Committee (NEC).

While this should have come as a relief for the beleaguered Taylor as ‘she is absolved’ of misappropriating FIFA funds, it seems she is not out of the woods yet. The suspended CEO is still expected to undergo a disciplinary hearing for misallocating FIFA funds.

Having discovered that the BFA had not used the FIFA funds on what it was earmarked for, the delegation will now share its findings with relevant bodies at FIFA who will then decide on the remedial action to take against BFA. In the meantime, the association will be expected to undertake its own audit.

Asked on the future of Taylor, BFA president Maclean Letshwiti said the suspended Secretary General will have to face a disciplinary hearing. While reluctant to comment, Letshwiti said the Secretary General’s fate would be determined by the BFA’s ‘internal administration structures.’

He however refused to delve further into the matter but rather said whatever action that needs to be taken will be taken by the BFA and not FIFA. “It will be done in accordance with our own rules and regulations and FIFA will not have a say on the matter,” he said.

While Letshwiti was reluctant to comment on whether there were grounds for Taylor to undergo a disciplinary hearing, a source in the NEC said the beleaguered Secretary General had to account.

“While she has not embezzled funds, Taylor did however misallocate the FIFA funds. This she did without getting a go-ahead from the BFA NEC, which is the reason why we are where we are right now,” the source explained.

According to the source, the suspended BFA Secretary General dismally failed to manage the funds and work within the BFA NEC approved budget. “At the start of each financial year, the BFA secretariat presents its own budget to the BFA NEC for approval. Once approved, the secretariat, led by the Secretary General has to adhere to it. Where the secretariat feels a need for further monies, it then has to go back to the BFA NEC to seek approval. In this case, Taylor did things her own way and never sought NEC approval to use the FIFA funds,” the source said.

“As the CEO of the BFA, the buck stops with Taylor. Where things go south as is the case right now, she is responsible. This is why she has to face a disciplinary hearing,” the source concluded.

Among other things, the suspended Secretary General is said to have used the FIFA project funds to pay salaries. Other monies were said to have been used ‘to help national teams when they were preparing for national duty.’

For Letshwiti however, the brouhaha surrounding the BFA finances has come as an unnecessary distraction and a bitter pill to swallow. During his time at the helm of the BFA, he has prided himself with leading the BFA off financial mess. Now, he finds himself having taken a step back and is now keen to ‘close the gaps again and tighten financial responsibility.’

Will he get to the bottom of the problems and regain the trust of FIFA and most importantly local football stakeholders? Only time will tell, and this is the commodity he does not have on his side.

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