FIFA, the world football governing body, has announced a disbursement of US$300,000 to the Football Association of Maldives (FAM) with a strict condition – the funds are exclusively for paying the salaries of FAM staff. This announcement comes amidst allegations of corruption and financial problems surrounding FAM.

Out of the pledged amount, FIFA has already transferred US$100,000 to FAM’s account, marking the first tranche of the disbursement. The newly appointed General Secretary of FAM, Mohamed Jaushan Shareef, revealed that the remaining amount would also be transferred in tranches.

Jaushan stated that the money would be directly exchanged into Maldivian Rufiyaa through the bank, eliminating the need for third-party currency exchange services. He further confirmed that the payroll for FAM staff has already been processed and submitted to the bank for salary disbursements.

However, FIFA has made it clear that the second payment of US$100,000 will not be disbursed until FAM provides documentary proof of salary deposits for their staff. This condition aims to ensure that the funds are used solely for the intended purpose.

FAM has faced growing public criticism and media scrutiny due to allegations of corruption and financial mismanagement. FAM President Bassam Adeel Jaleel had previously met with FIFA President Gianni Infantino in October for discussions, which have likely contributed to FIFA’s decision to disburse the funds with strict conditions.

This week, the finance committee of the Maldivian parliament requested the Auditor General’s Office to conduct a special audit of FAM. This decision was made in connection with the allegations of corruption against FAM officials and the organisation’s financial troubles.

FAM President Bassam Adeel Jaleel had his passport seized on 5 December, and Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has identified Bassam as the main suspect in the corruption case against FAM. 

The investigation into FAM’s finances was initiated following allegations of misappropriation of funds received from international organisations, including FIFA. Prosecutor General Shameem has alleged that FAM used these funds for purposes contrary to Maldivian laws and regulations.

The investigation has revealed significant spending on foreign trips by some FAM leadership members, with detailed records available, including expenses made through cash cards. Shameem stressed that such spending should comply with regulations on handling funds received from international organisations.

The agencies involved in the ongoing investigation have so far gathered sufficient evidence to consider pressing charges, and further developments are expected with the Parliament’s probe into the matter.