The Football Association of Maldives (FAM) finds itself in turbulent waters as legal investigations into alleged corruption and financial mismanagement cripple its day-to-day operations. As a result, the association has announced the suspension of all planned tournaments and football leagues.

The announcement comes in the wake of a police raid carried out under the orders of the Prosecutor General (PG). Officers seized a significant amount of documentation, server backups, and hard disks, which FAM claims has disrupted its day-to-day activities. Police conducted the raid to gather evidence for an ongoing criminal investigation into FAM’s financial transactions.

The world football governing body FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have weighed in on the matter. In a joint letter sent to FAM, the organisations emphasised that while law enforcement has the right to inspect the association, such actions must be within the framework of the law. They also warned that FAM’s independence should not be compromised, failing which it could face actions under the FIFA charter.

FAM responded to the police raid on Thursday, vigorously denying all allegations in a statement. They asserted that no official, staff member, or affiliate of the association had been involved in misappropriating any funds. “We will not step back in our efforts to prove that FAM has not conducted any actions or transactions outside of the legal framework,” the statement read.

FAM also took the opportunity to underscore its transparency, noting that funds received from international bodies are audited annually. The association declared its intent to cooperate with ongoing investigations while defending itself against any personal attacks aiming to take advantage of the current situation.

According to the Prosecutor General’s previous statements, FAM officials are suspected of using international funds to commit crimes, facilitating money laundering, and misappropriating money. This is in addition to the severe financial issues plaguing the association, including the non-payment of salaries to employees and allegations of corruption within its ranks.

The legal imbroglio threatens not just the reputation of FAM but also casts a shadow over Maldivian football as a whole. With tournaments and leagues suspended, the sport’s growth and the morale of athletes are at risk. As the investigation proceeds, FAM has vowed to face the allegations head-on to maintain the integrity and reputation of the sport in their nation.