Cyprus Mail

Future of sports authority under threat

THE Cyprus Sports Organisation (KOA) may have to be dismantled unless it puts its financial house in order, auditor-general Chrystalla Georghadji warned on Tuesday.
Briefing the House watchdog committee, Georghadji was reported as telling MPs that if the semi-governmental organisation does not immediately restructure its operations, it would go on the troika’s ‘black list’, be shut down and absorbed into the ministry of education.
KOA, the umbrella organisation for the various sports federations, receives an annual state grant. In 2012 the SGO had €33.3m in revenues, of which €31.3m (or 94 per cent) were state grants. The entity posted a deficit of €701,000 in 2012, compared to €2m the previous year.
Lawmakers learned that despite the fact football clubs owed the VAT Service a combined €9.5m they continued receiving money from KOA.
But MPs also heard evidence of financial malfeasance by federations – members of KOA – that are potentially criminal in nature.
In her 2012 report, the auditor-general references invoices issued by the Cyprus Archery Federation, where the seller and the buyer were the same person. In some cases the receipts for payments were found to have been issued from an invoice book belonging to the federation instead of the seller.
And during the course of verifying expenditures made in 2012, the federation’s board discovered “several ambiguities, non-existent invoices and distortions of the minutes of board meetings” that were submitted to KOA.
Speaking to reporters at parliament, Greens MP George Perdikis wondered why these instances have not been investigated.
“Who has been punished for these illegal activities? Why has the attorney-general’s office, on receiving the auditor-general’s report, not initiated criminal proceedings?” he asked.
But Perdikis also slammed the notion that KOA must be shut down because of debt.
Instead, he added, SGOs that are in trouble should be restructured and modernised. He said the decision last week to abolish two SGOs – the Cyprus Dairy Industry Organisation and the Wine Products Council – set a dangerous precedent.

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