The hotel where the Maldives’ national football team had stayed during last month’s World Cup preliminary qualifier match in Bangladesh have not been paid for, it has been reported in local media. The team owes the Amari Dhaka US$19,651.38 (MVR 303,000), an amount that has been overdue since 15 October according to the first invoice to the Football Association of the Maldives (FAM), reports say.

The national team and officials were accommodated at the hotel on a pay-as-you-go basis. The hotel had reminded the FAM, via email on 19 October, of the delay in payment, to which the association had replied saying payment would be arranged on 21 October.

The hotel has now sent a letter to FAM General Secretary Hussain Jawaz, requesting payment by 15 November. The letter states that an additional 15 percent surcharge will be imposed every 15 days the bills remain unpaid. The hotel has also raised the issue of nonpayment with the High Commission of the Maldives in Bangladesh.

While FAM had declined to comment on the matter, the Maldives High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Shiruzimath Sameer, confirmed the FAM had not paid the hotel dues. The High Commissioner has requested the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, and the FAM to clarify the issue, she said.

According to official documents, quoted in local media, the Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment, Ahmed Mahloof, had written to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Abdulla Shahid, explaining that FAM had faced difficulties paying the money and that the administration would take responsibility if the bill remains unpaid – meaning Mahloof’s ministry would take responsibility for the FAM oversight.

In addition to the dues to Amari Dhaka, FAM has been under scrutiny for other irregularities, with the Police currently conducting a criminal investigation into the association over allegations of corruption, money laundering, and misappropriation of funds.