No dispute with Blakeney says BFA President
Larry Mussenden has moved to end his dispute with Sports Minister Glenn Blakeney's over his probe into how Bermuda Football Association (BFA) spent millions of Government funding.
In an earlier interview with The Royal Gazette, the BFA president argued that Minister Blakeney “had no authority” to set up his Commission of Inquiry into the governing bodies of football and cricket.
However, Mussenden appears to have softened his stance after insisting the BFA were now keen appear before the commission and resolve the matter as soon as possible.
“Having taken note of the recent article in The Royal Gazette I want to clarify that the BFA are very keen to appear before the inquiry to present how the BFA used funds from Government,” said Mussenden.
“We now look forward to moving on from having any dispute about the form of the inquiry and to now appearing at the inquiry.”
The ex-Attorney General said the inquiry would find no wrongdoing on the part of the BFA, insisting he was proud of their audited statements filed with the Bermuda charities commission.
He added that a large proportion of Government's funding had been used to cover the costs of coaching courses, the hiring of a technical director and youth director, funding scholarships for young players and providing safety and security equipment to local clubs.
“We're of the view we will satisfy the Bermuda public, the inquiry and the Minister that we made the best use of the funding at each and every stage it was allocated.
“The BFA have never taken the Government grant lightly and at every stage of the way we were quite appreciative of it. We reiterate that there has never been any question of the misuse of funds.”
With Bermuda's crucial World Cup qualifier against Trinidad next week, Mussenden now wants to draw a line under the Government funding issue and allow the seven-member commission to complete their review.
“I now turn to the people of Bermuda and focus on our World Cup qualifying matches against Trinidad on October 7 as well as our two other upcoming home games,” he said.
“We urge the Bermuda public to come and support the team and look forward to a full stadium. We also look for Minister Blakeney to join us in the Grand Stand before we go out to meet and greet the teams. That's where we need to be focusing our energy right now.”
The commission, including ex-BFA presidents Donald Dane and Charlie Marshall on its panel, have been given an eight-week time frame to complete their report and are expected to present their findings to the Minister shortly after their November 21 deadline.