The Czech Football Association, which is embroiled in a subsidy scandal, is
believed to have allotted over 100 million crowns without clear rules.
Czech Radio’s flagship news station Radiožurnal says it has now obtained documents showing where the money went and one of the biggest benefactors was the village football club Osvětimany which is the home club of President Zeman’s Chancellor Vratislav Mynář.Mr. Mynář rejected any involvement.
Other overly generous contributions were made to clubs in the Liberec region, where the former head of the Football Association Miroslav Pelta comes from.
President Miloš Zeman has appointed Stanislav Štech as Czech minister of education, youth and sports. Mr. Štech, who is 62, is a Charles University psychology professor and a former deputy minister of education. He replaces the Social Democratic Party’s Kateřina Valachová, who announced her resignation after one of her deputies was charged with large-scale corruption involving sports subsidies.
Miroslav Pelta has stood down as chairman of the Czech Football Association. He tendered his resignation from the cell where he is being held on remand over charges of large-scale abuse of sports subsidies. The news was relayed to the newspaper Deník Sport by his lawyer. Pelta did not stand in a vote for the post of FA chief on Friday but none of the candidates secured enough backing to win election. He had been the top man in Czech soccer since 2011 and is the owner of Jablonec FC.
One of Czech footballs main long time sponsors, the brewery Gambrinus, said in a public statement that it was disappointed that new leadership of the Czech football association was not elected on Friday. The letter said that the brewery regarded the situation as critical and was weighing up its further steps. Other main sponsors, such as O2 and T-Mobile, have also voiced their concern about the current situation surrounding Czech football. The top football league currently does not have a main sponsor for the upcoming season after insurer ePojisteni said it would no longer sponsor the league after the last season. Gambrinus was previously the long term league sponsor.
The Czech Football Association failed to elect new leaders at a meeting in Prague on Friday. Even after three rounds of voting the top two candidates to be chairman, Martin Malík and Petr Fousek, failed to obtain the majority needed to occupy that the top position. The stalemate means that Mirolsav Pelta remains association chairman although he is currently in police custody related to a suspected sports funds fraud involving the Ministry of Education. A special general assembly of the association should be held at the latest by November 31. The two frontrunners from Friday failed to win sufficient support from both Bohemian and Moravian delegates. They have not confirmed whether they will stand again.
President Milos Zeman on Sunday met with the minister of education, youth and sports Kateřina Valachová, who announced her resignation after one of her deputies was charged with large-scale corruption. Valachova said the president asked her to reconsider her decision in view of the strong backing she had from teachers and sportspeople. However the minister said she would stand by her decision and expected to leave office at the end of the month as agreed. Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka has already proposed a replacement.
The head of the Czech Football Association, Miroslav Pelta, will not be released from custody soon as an investigation in suspected fraud widens, according to Prague’s supreme attorney Lenka Bradáčová. She told public broadcaster Czech Television that a series of witnesses still needed to be interviewed with the investigation branching out into new areas. One of those is possible subsidies given by the Ministry of Education to the Hodonín football club under pressure from the football association. A link with energy company and Hodonín sponsor, MND, is also being probed. The company denies any involvement in corruption. Police say its almost certain Pelta will not be free in time to take part in the election to top football association posts at the end of June.
Czech Football Association chairman Miroslav Pelta and deputy education minister Simona Kratochvílová, who have been charged with corruption, are suspected of themselves choosing the members of a commission that decided on almost half a billion crowns in grants. Czech Radio reported on the story on Monday, referring to police documents surrounding the case. Ms. Kratochvílová is suspected of giving the commission members a list of 21 projects, all of which they later approved. Mr. Pelta and Ms. Kratochvílová were arrested earlier this month. The minister of education, Kateřina Valachová, resigned in connection with the affair.