Sports

Taxman harsh on LeFA

Chris Theko

The Lesotho Revenue Authority (LRA) did not go easy on Lesotho Football Association (LeFA) after they were gifted with funds to develop football in the country by the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) since last year.

LeFA was given funds by the world football governing body amounting to M23.35 million in 2019. The money was meant for the infrastructural developments that the association would decide on.

Some of the decided developments included the construction of a gymnasium, change rooms, spectators sitting and an artificial turf at Bambatha Tšita sports arena where the LeFA headquarters are.

The other part of the funds was used for the turf that was inserted at the Mohales Hoek DiFA stadium. All the developments expenditure from FIFA amounted to M22 million.      

In a media briefing that was held at the LeFA headquarters on Wednesday, the President told members of the media that they were surprised at how the government is so harsh towards them as the association in sports administration, he said this because LRA charged the association M1.1 million on tax for the gift. 

“Each of the artificial turfs are worth about M6 million. Allow me to state this with a sad heart that we were not given a tax exemption in spite of having applied for it, we had to pay taxes on all the gifts we were awarded,” Phafane said.

He explained that when the world football governing body gives a country funds in any form they consider them a gift towards the development of football in that country but when they arrived here they were told that they bought them hence a tax should be paid for them. 

“We had FIFA write a letter explaining that those people (LeFA Administration) did not buy those things on their own accord but we gave them funds towards the development of football in your country,” Phafane explained. 

“The government of Lesotho has failed with the construction of grounds and other things that help the development of the sport in the country but somehow when we are assisted towards doing that, the same government through the LRA says to us as far as they are concerned we have bought all these things and we should therefore pay tax,” Phafane said.

He also said this was a case of people who are highly driven by collecting tax even where they should be ashamed to do such.

He said this situation forces them as an association to go to their reserves in order to pay for the said tax. The president stated that this is a predicament facing only LeFA because other countries do not deal with it.

Meanwhile the president revealed that the turf laying that was taking place at both Bambatha Tšita and Mohale’s Hoek has been completed but waiting approval from the FIFA experts. 

He said the dressing rooms at Bambatha Tšita are still behind due to the delay caused by slabs. 

At the same media briefing the Lesotho Referees were handed new attire for their match day. The attire was bought with the money they were allocated as part of the LeFA Covid-19 Relief Fund to its structures.  The 190 referee sets are said to be worth M65 000 and will go towards all the 90 active referees.

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