Soccer News: CONCACAF Announces Formation of Audit & Compliance Committee
Creates New Committee to Enhance Transparency, Accountability; Committee Members Represent Diverse Range Of CONCACAF Member Countries
CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football) has announced the creation of an Audit & Compliance Committee. The office will help ensure that the Confederation manages its finances responsibly as it continues to reform.
The Committee’s primary charge is to confirm the accuracy of CONCACAF’s financial accounting as well as to examine its financial statements, consolidated financial statement and the external auditor’s report. Leighton McKnight, a managing partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Jamaica and former President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica, will chair the Audit & Compliance Committee.
Both former CONCACAF President Jack Warner and former General Secretary Chuck Blazer were previously investigated for actions taken during their tenure with the organization. Warner is being scrutinized by the IRS and by international accounting and legal firms for a number of actions, including registering a $22.5 million soccer center in his own name. Blazer has been accused of failing to correctly report taxes for a four year period.
In addition to the actions of these two former leaders, CONCACAF itself is under investigation by the IRS. Although the organization is officially based in the Bahamas, because most of the money it brings in is made in the United States, the Confederation must file a non-profit organization Form 990 with the IRS. Blazer was also accused of misrepresenting CONCACAF in front of the IRS from 2007 to 2011.
Current CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb explained in a letter to the Confederation that the organization “is not in good standing as a U.S. tax exempt entity” and that it “may not have properly fulfilled other of its income and/or employment tax obligations.” He has been closely involved in bringing in accounting firm BDO International and global law firm Sidley Austin LLP to help with investigations. The Audit & Compliance Committee can be seen as another step in repairing CONCACAF’s reputation.
“As part of the new CONCACAF’s commitment to inclusiveness, accountability and transparency, we have created a Committee that will ensure we remain vigilant and committed to developing the game,” said Webb. “This committee is comprised of individuals with the highest levels of integrity and competence, and they will help strengthen CONCACAF’s future.”
"I am deeply honored and very excited to be invited to assist in improving corporate governance in CONCACAF,” said Committee Chair McKnight. “This critical organization in our region has faced significant governance challenges in the past, but now has the opportunity to positively shape its future. I eagerly look forward to making my contribution as a part of the team, adding significant value to the rebuilding process."
The Audit & Compliance Committee consists of Leighton McKnight (Jamaica), Chairman; Carlos Cordeiro (USA), Vice Chairman; Bruce Blake (Cayman Islands), Mateo Fabrega (Panama), Richard Groden (Trinidad & Tobago), Rodrigo Pliego (Mexico) and Andrew Griffith (Bermuda).
About Chairman Leighton McKnight: Leighton A McKnight is a chartered accountant by profession and is currently the managing partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Jamaica (PWCJ) where he is also responsible for human capital, marketing and a number of the firm’s external engagements. His audit portfolio includes clients with group companies situated across the Caribbean region, North and Central America. He was responsible for establishing PWCJ’s internal audit outsourcing practice and has over 30 years practical experience working in the auditing, accounting and financial consulting industries. McKnight has led numerous financial engagements in a wide range of industries including statutory financial audits, internal audits, management audits and special compliance audits.
He serves/has served in many extra-curricular capacities and is currently Chairman of the Government of Jamaica Audit Commission (responsible for the oversight of the Audit Activities of all Ministries, Departments and Executive Agencies), Member of Jamaica’s Parliamentary Integrity Commission, Member of Jamaica’s Parliamentary Integrity Commission, Member of the Independent Commission for the Judiciary (responsible for recommending the emoluments of Higher and Appeal Court Judges), Director and Finance Chair of Jamaica Football Federation and Jamaica’s International Assembly Representative for the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). He is a past President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica, a past Director/Secretary of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of the Caribbean and has served on the Boards of many companies and charities.
McKnight is a B.Sc. Honours Graduate in Management Studies from the University of the West Indies, attended Emile Woolfe College of Accountancy in London, England and is a graduate of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants’ Professional Examinations.
About CONCACAF: CONCACAF “The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football” is one of six continental confederations of FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) and serves as the governing body of football in this part of the world. It is composed of 40 national associations, from Canada in the north to Guyana, Surinam and French Guyana in the south.