The Inquirer is a leading independent daily newspaper published in Liberia, based in Monrovia. It is privately owned with a "good reputation".

Conflicting Accounts! -Misapplication Mutilates Orange Sponsorship Money -As LFA At War With Figures

Liberia football stakeholders have been greeted with conflicting accounts from the local football house about the actual amount disbursed by Orange GSM as sponsorship package for the 2018 National League season.
On Saturday, July 6, football stakeholders unanimously voted and approved the LFA’s US$6.9 million United States dollars 2019 budget inclusive of money generated by the local football house in 2018. According to the FA financial instrument distributed to clubs and their executives, an amount of US$149,000 was highlighted under the caption “Media & Marketing” (Orange to LFA). The insertion means that Orange GSM provided US$149,000 to the Liberia Football Association (LFA) as sponsorship package for the running of the Orange Sponsored National League.
Even though majority of the stakeholders failed to critically analyze the FA’s financial document so as to carefully verify stipulated amount assigned to line items, at least four clubs voted against the budget passage on grounds that they were not allotted sufficient time to peruse the document, and also, that they could not critique the budget while it was still a soft copy. Howbeit, the budget received an overwhelming cheers from stakeholders as it was endorsed at face-value.
But a week after the passage of the budget, news emerged that the FA did not disclosed the exact amount provided by Orange GSM for the 2018 League Season. Some stakeholders raised several concerns over the US$149,000 inserted in the FA’s budget report, and further, questioned the FA on the usage of the money as they did not present budget narratives to clearly explain itself.
Amidst the claims and counterclaims about how much was received by the FA in 2018 from Orange GSM, responding to a question posed to the LFA President, Mustapha I. Raji, appearing on a local radio sports program, on the usage of the US$149,000 captured in the FA’s budget, Raji dismissed reports that the LFA received such amount in 2018. Though the figure was inserted in the FA’s financial report, the one-time tough–talking football stakeholder rejected and objected to reports that US$149,000 was the sponsorship package provided by Orange GSM.
When asked further, President Raji said “where do you think we got money from to support women football, how do you think we were able to give out cash prizes at the stadium, buy trophies and medals. How do you think we had women football as part of the National County Sports Meet?” In 2018, women football was included for the first time in the final stages of the tournament. Cash prizes were awarded to the participating and the money was provided by the local football.
Later did stakeholders know that the money spent on the female football teams that participated in the national County Meet was portion of the Orange GSM sponsorship funds which was meant exclusively for the local league, and not the heavily sponsored County Meet. What was more worrisome was the issue of conflicting accounts on the actual amount provided by orange GSM with associates of the FA insisting that the amount was US$100,000 instead of US$149,000 as was reported by the FA in its budget approved on Saturday, July 6.
Until now, the FA is yet to clarify news of the two figures, but stakeholders have continued to lambast the local football house for wrongfully applying the 2018 Orange GSM sponsorship money. ‘The money was not meant for County Meet and so the LFA had no reason to expend its league sponsorship money on a government funded County Meet,” another stakeholder who spoke on anonymity stated.
While the public awaits a clarification on the exact amount provided by Orange GSM for the 2018 league, reports are emerging from inside the local football house that the US$149,000 inserted in the LFA’s budget, was an oversight. Though it has not been officially communicated by the FA, associates of the FA are claiming that the US$149,000 figure is an error from the FA. This error has further expanded the debate of insecurity and lack of transparency on the part of the Raji-led Football Association.
When contacted, LFA Secretary General, Isaac Montgomery, mobile phone rank endlessly without response.
Meanwhile, the President of the Liberia Football Association, Mustapha Raji, is expected to hold a closed-door meeting with only sports journalists who are accredited to cover the 2019 Orange Sponsored National League, on Monday, July 22, 2019. It is understood that the LFA boss will rap on other footballing issues including the status of 2018 Orange Sponsorship money as stakeholders are eager to know the exact amount of either US$100,000 or US$149,000. D. Webster Cassell writes

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