In its Report,Transparency International analysed 209 federation members of FIFA on the basis of four criteria: financial reports, disciplinary regulations, statute and information on activities. According to the results of the investigation, the Croatian Football Federation, is amongst the top 31% with the best results. However, Transparency International failed to notice that the Croatian Football Federation also satisfied the criteria for which it was assessed as unsatisfactory. Namely, the financial reports of the Croatian Football Federation are publicly available at Fina or the Register of Non-Profit Organisations to whoever wants to see them including Transparency International officials. Furthermore, the Croatian Football Association regularly informs the public and the media through its website on all of its activities concerning investment and earmarked expenditure of FIFA and EUFA funds such as new football fields, grassroots projects or donations to help branches and clubs in Slavonia after the worst floods in living memory in 2014.
Similarly, these financial means from FIFA and EUFA development funds must be spent exclusively for specific purposes and under prescribed procedures which include detailed descriptions of the project, relevant documentation, selection procedures, implementation and reporting on the project. All funds or the use of funds are audited by an independent auditor on an annual or individual project basis. Of course, the total financial transactions are audited annually by an independent audit firm.
On the Croatian Football Association website alone there are 3204 documents available amongst which all sorts of things can be found about what Transparency International is seeking what it desires. For the umpteenth time, the Croatian Football Federation reiterates that it is not spending taxpayers money as implied by Cobus de Swardt, Director of Transparency International. Furthermore, the Federation’s commercial contracts with partners comprise provisions on confidential information which is normal, understandable and usual in the business world. We in general support the Transparency International initiative and some of the messages are certainly welcome for many federations in the world, including the Croatian Football Federation. However, a much deeper analysis is necessary in preparing such a report than just a superficial overview that is presented in this Report and certainly a more correct approach than the one presented by the malicious headline ‘Financial and Management Black Hole from FIFA to HNS.’
Namely, Transparency International can only wish that all organisations in Croatia are so successful both by results and financially and that they regularly pay their obligations and are pedantic in their financial and all other reports and come out so clean in various inspections and with such attractive sponsors and partners as is the case with the Croatian Football Federation. After all, Transparency International in Croatia is indirectly financed by taxes and other charges which are in great measure paid into the state coffers by the Croatian Football Federation, football clubs and football players.
Transparency International should at least work transparently, which in this case means checking information before taking a resolute position and providing strict evaluations and not just (and superficially at that) interpreting reports from 'Head Office' and thereby drawing its own conclusions. The least that the Croatian Football Federation should and can get in return from an organisation which it indirectly finances is proper reporting rather than publishing superficial, low quality and sensationalist investigations.