THE ban on recruitment imposed on Al Rayyan by the QFA and a similar action imminent on Al Arabi have opened up the topic of transparency and fair play within Qatar football. There is distrust and a deep sense of insecurity among the supporters and officials of these two popular clubs.
There is very little information available on the public domain about each club’s revenue and expenditure. As such, one cannot even point a finger at the other and conclusively argue that there is a clear discrepancy or disparity. But the lack of transparency is unfortunately strengthening the belief that there is no financial fair play within the system.
But then this is not an isolated case, confined only to Qatar. A recent Transparency International report said only 14 of FIFA’s 209 member associations publish the minimum amount of information necessary to let people know what they do or how they spend their money.
The report also said many national football associations and confederations had income from sponsors, broadcasting licences, ticket sales, international matches and other sources in addition to the funds from FIFA, but they revealed little to no information about the value of these deals and activities. In effect, too many of them are secretive about their financial transactions.
The Transparency International had set up four measures as minimum steps to being transparent — publishing audited financial accounts, an annual activity report, a code of conduct and organisational statutes. A closer scrutiny of the report affirmed that a total of 87 national federations, including Qatar, scored zero in the transparency test. The QFA is also among the national associations that have not published financial statements on their websites.
The report also mentioned that more than one in five of the 209 national federations had no website to explain their work and 178 did not even publish an annual report.