Doctored accounts were presented to club delegates at the AGM of the Clare Schoolboys/Schoolgirls Soccer League (CSSL) it has emerged.
An Emergency General Meeting (EGM) of the CSSL had to be convened as delegates refused to pass the Treasurer’s Report at the December AGM with question marks and concerns raised over how the accounts were presented.
Chartered accountant Donal O’Sullivan admitted at Tuesday’s EGM at Hotel Woodstock, “The accounts I presented to the then Treasurer weren’t the ones presented at the AGM. They were changed without my knowledge and some of the income categorisation was changed”. Following on from the AGM when O’Sullivan saw the accounts presented to delegates he expressed his “displeasure” with the actions of the Treasurer who issued an apology for his actions.
Accounts for the 2019 financial year presented at the AGM had a surplus of €18,196 whereas on Tuesday delegates were informed there was in fact a deficit of €5,019.
An increase in committee expenses was noted in the figures from the Kilrush accountant. Delegates were told in December this amounted to €3,365 but on Tuesday it was revealed that committee expenses more than tripled to €12,998. However overall transport costs for the CSSL were reduced by €400.
“I don’t know why they have suddenly jumped,” Nigel Bradish who was appointed Treasurer at the AGM commented. He said the committee expenses were on phone bills, broadband, travelling and work at Ballycasey.
Topline figures in the CSSL’s income for the financial year ending October 31st 2019 were altered, the Kilrush accountant flagged. Decreases were recorded on registration fees (-€3,736), gate receipts (-€2,143), Kennedy Cup, Gaynor Cup and tournament income (-€1,062), fundraising and sponsorship (-€3,852).
An income from the FAI Camps was not included in the AGM accounts and for the EGM accounts this was pooled with goalkeeping, TFA and U11 programmes leading to a jump of €4,699 on what was previously presented.
As first reported by The Clare Echo in December, the FAI owe the CSSL €22,171 according to last year’s committee. O’Sullivan told delegates that this grant was included as an asset in the figures presented at the AGM and that the committee have made the “prudent” decision to write off the €22k. “I presume they will chase it. If they do get it, it will be categorised as income”.
He added that there was a case to be made “to tighten” how income and expenses are categorised. Donal stressed that financially the CSSL was in “a healthy position”. He pointed out that some committee expenses were allowed to roll over from one year to the next and believed figures in this regard for 2017 and 2018 should have been higher. “If the FAI had run its financial affairs the way the CSSL has it wouldn’t be in the position it is in”.
“We are looking at putting in procedures to tighten up governance. In the last two years the accounts have not been passed at our AGM,” Bradish said. The Avenue Utd clubman pointed out that the EGM’s accounts were presented on the CSSL accountants’ headed paper and they would continue with such practice for the foreseeable future.
Coole FC delegate, Gerard McMahon remarked, “I am disturbed that Donal said the figures were altered. I have nothing against the committee but it proved the clubs were right in what they thought and right to question the finances, those clubs have to be commended”. He described the situation as “slightly fishy”.
Eddie Crowe of Sporting Ennistymon expressed his concern that a €9,363 jump in committee expenses was initially hidden from clubs. “Somebody has to say where it has gone. Nobody can justify it going above €9,000”. Crowe claimed they had never previously exceeded €4,000. Tulla Utd’s Michael O’Sullivan felt the jump was “lacking transparency”.
Newly elected Chairman, Donal Kirby assured delegates the new committee would be “more consistent”. “We need to up our game on record keeping,” Bradish added and outlined that they were looking at having two people sign off on expenses going forward and a move towards online banking.