Mauritius government suspends funding over MFA’s handling of voyeurism claims

Il Mauritius government has suspended financial support to local clubs and given the country’s Football Assocation until November to resolve its “governance issues” over the handling of voyeurism allegations at its headquarters.

Administrative secretary, Mila Sinnasamy, has claimed that a mobile phone in recording mode was discovered on 30 July was concealed in a blue basket placed in the water tank of the women’s toilet at the MFA’s headquarters in Trianon, 15 km from the capital, Port Louis. Police have confirmed that a file on the allegations of voyeurism will be submitted to the office of the director of public prosecutions, with Bindou Kistnairain, who works as a cleaner at the MFA, claiming that she also saw a phone in the toilets during her shift in May and did not report it due to fears of “being fired and any retaliation”.

In a letter sent to president, Samir Sobha, su 27 August by the ministry for youth empowerment, sport and recreation that has been seen by the Guardian, the MFA has also been told that as well as receiving no central funding, it will also no longer be supported in work permit applications for overseas players and banned from hosting matches in government-owned stadiums.

“This is to inform the federation that following grievances that have been received at this ministry regarding the prevailing situation at the MFA, specially with regard to the reported case of voyeurism within its premises and the delay in reporting the matter to the police authorities,” the letter begins.

It goes on to outline four decisions, including “withholding the annual regionalisation grants to football clubs and associations with immediate effect” and banning access to stadiums “for clubs and competitions to be organised by the MFA” – moves that are likely to bring an end to domestic football in the country for the time being.

The final decision says the MFA has until the end of November to “sort out its governance issues” in line with a government act passed in 2016 that stipulates every national sports federation “must operate on the principles of good governance, transparency, democracy, fairness and non-discrimination.”

Sobha, who has been president of the MFA since 2014, called an emergency board meeting on 10 August to discuss Sinnasamy’s complaint but did not invite several members, including Vinod Busviah. Barlen Sengayen did attend but later claimed the meeting had been secretly recorded without their permission.

Both have since stepped down, with Busviah saying he did not appreciate Sengayen’s resignation letter, saying he felt “misled and manipulated” by the MFA president. Sobha said he had acted correctly at the meeting and told the Guardian that he would be contacting Fifa to complain about government interference.

“If the ministry is saying that it’s because of the voyeurism issue then I’m not a policeman and I can’t judge anyone," Egli ha detto. “There is a police case already that is investigating this issue and we should wait for them to complete their investigation. They are asking for me to complete the job with my own hands but I don’t have the capacity or knowledge to do that.”

Fifa have so far not responded to the Guardian’s request for comment.

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