FIFA and the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC) have stepped in to appoint an interim administration body to run the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF).
The SIFF’s funding has been suspended and a normalisation committee appointed, pending an investigation into the federation’s handling of its finances. However, OFC general secretary Tai Nicholas said that there is no indication of misappropriation by those running the SIFF, and it appears poor accounting is to blame.
“For one reason or another, the former administration, for the amount of activities they’re involved in both internationally and domestically, weren’t able to fund everything,” Nicholas told Australian broadcaster ABC Radio. “The best way forward in order for football to grow in that country is to install a new administration, which was done by FIFA appointing a Normalisation Committee to run the affairs of football, and to call for new elections in a year’s time. We’ve concluded lapses in financial management in terms of the accountability of where the money went. We can’t prove there’s misappropriation, so the current administration agreed that maybe it was time to install a normalisation for the time being, and look to stakeholders across the Solomon Islands to install a new administration.”
The Solomon Islands are not the first nation to fall into financial difficulties in the OFC region, with normalisation committees having previously been appointed in American Samoa and Samoa. However, Nicholas maintains football in the OFC is in a healthy position. He added: “We have state of the art facilities and we’re entering all the competitions. Tahiti were at the Confederations Cup and were at the semi-finals in beach soccer, the Solomons are doing well in Futsal, New Zealand’s at the World Cup; so for a small federation I think we’re punching above our weight.”