Fenech hits backs at ‘no action’ claims
Former Malta FA vice-president Peter Fenech has hit back at claims made by current MFA president Norman Darmanin Demajo over the way the association handled allegations of irregularities in the distribution of UEFA’s club solidarity payments in 2008.
A review by the MFA board of internal auditors has found that, between seasons 2002-03 and 2006-07, the MFA withheld around €68,000 from money derived from the UEFA solidarity payments.
Dr Fenech chaired the association’s board of inquiry when Darmanin Demajo sent a letter to the MFA requesting an inves-tigation into allegations of misappropriation of UEFA funds but at the time, the council decided that the claims should be heard in court after former MFA president Joe Mifsud had initiated a libel suit.
Speaking to The Times, Dr Fenech said: “I want to clarify that the letter which had been sent to the board of inquiry, of which I was chairperson in 2008, was never given to me or the board.
“The first time I knew about this letter was when it was mentioned in the council meeting by the then MFA president Joe Mifsud who proposed that the matter should not be investigated internally but that the merits of the letter should be dealt with in a libel suit that had already been filed.
“I didn’t object that the matter be discussed outside the MFA for a number of reasons. I considered both of them (Mifsud and Darmanin Demajo) to be my friends – I played for several years with St Andrew’s under Darmanin Demajo, and I was resolute, and still am, not to take sides in the bitter dispute between them.
“It was also evident that the majority of the council members were in favour of that proposal.”
Following the publication of the auditors’ report during Monday’s MFA council meeting, Darmanin Demajo said officials who were part of the council in 2008 must shoulder part of the blame because they stayed silent.
“I feel that the comment (by Darmanin Demajo) might have implied responsibility on my shoulders and I’m pleased that I’m being given the opportunity to clarify the matter,” Dr Fenech said.
“During my time as MFA vice-president, if there was anyone who spoke out and challenged Dr Mifsud on issues, it was me.”
Dr Fenech has been out of the limelight since losing his MFA seat in 2010 but rumours have been rife that he may contest this year’s presidential election.
“I wanted to give the opportunity to the new, democratically-elected president the chance to implement his programme without any pressures,” Dr Fenech said.
“Naturally, football remains close to my heart but, if I feel that things are going well and there is no need for my contribution, I don’t have to contest just for the sake of it.
“I haven’t made this analysis yet and I don’t intend to do it for the time being. I will wait for the elections to get closer and see how things develop before I take a decision.”