The Maldives Police Service (MPS) on Sunday raided the headquarters of the Football Association of Maldives (FAM), acting on orders from the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO). The PGO has initiated an investigation into allegations of corruption, money laundering, and misappropriation of funds by senior officials within the association.

Armed with a warrant, officers entered the FAM offices to gather evidence necessary for a criminal investigation into the organisation’s financial activities. Police were also stationed outside the building during the operation.

The FAM is in dire financial straits, unable to pay salaries to its employees and steeped in debt. There have been multiple cases in court against the association by private parties for not honouring dollar exchange transactions. The organisation has also faced scrutiny from FIFA and other international football bodies that provide it with financial assistance, often in dollars.

The prosecutor general, Hussain Shameem, has expressed concerns about allegations that funds from international agencies meant for the FAM have been used to commit or facilitate crimes in direct violation of Maldivian laws. The office has directed the police to investigate instances of money laundering, theft, fraud, or any other criminal offence and send the findings to the PGO for prosecution.

The Prosecutor General’s Office highlighted the country’s close ties with international organisations, stressing the importance of maintaining the integrity and fairness of state institutions. The PGO said that it was of national interest to ensure these bodies operate within the framework of legality and ethics.

Several allegations have been levelled against FAM officials, including the association’s president, Bassam Adeel Jaleel, who is accused of spearheading corrupt activities within the organisation. This is not the first time that FAM has come under the spotlight for allegations of corruption.

Two key members of the FAM’s executive committee have also recently resigned amidst the turmoil: Hussain Shafiu, CEO of Maziya Sports and Recreation Club and former vice-president of FAM, and Muaviyath Khaleel, a member of the executive committee and president of Club Green Streets.

The malfeasance within FAM has had a palpable impact on the performance of the national football team. Once considered the second-strongest team in South Asia, the squad now struggles against comparatively weaker teams like Nepal and Bangladesh. FAM’s failure to host league competitions on a regular basis has been cited as a contributing factor to the team’s dwindling performance.