Charity Commission contacts Craig Bellamy Foundation over alleged financial irregularities

The former footballer set up the foundation in 2008 to help children and young people in Sierra Leone

Craig Bellamy
Craig Bellamy

The Charity Commission has contacted a charity set up by the former Premier League footballer Craig Bellamy after receiving reports of financial irregularities.

Bellamy, who has made first-team appearances for nine professional clubs including Liverpool and Manchester City, and played for Wales, set up the Craig Bellamy Foundation in 2008 to help children and young people in Sierra Leone.

As part of its work, the charity ran a football academy in the west African country to provide education and football coaching to young people.

But a story in The Times newspaper today claims that despite the academy closing in September, there are children still staying there in poor living conditions.

The charity’s entry on the Charity Commission website shows that its accounts for the year to 31 May 2015 are 343 days overdue. The page shows that the charity had an income of £381,666 and spent £360,688 in the year to 31 May 2014, the most recent year for which accounts are available.

A solicitor representing Bellamy said a legal team was examining alleged financial irregularities at the charity.

The solicitor said in a statement: "Mr Bellamy has recently appointed a new legal team to investigate any irregularities in the management of his financial affairs. These investigations are ongoing and we therefore cannot comment further at this stage on any specific allegation.

"His legal team will assist all government agencies in their investigations and, if necessary, his legal team will take action against those responsible for any wrongdoing."

A spokesman for the Charity Commission said: "I can confirm that concerns have been raised with us about the Craig Bellamy Foundation and the closure of its academy in Sierra Leone. We are assessing these concerns to determine what if any role there might be for the commission.

"As part of our engagement, we are reminding trustees of their duty to file their outstanding financial accounts. Trustees must account to the public and donors for their income and expenditure, and the failure to do so may give rise to concerns about the governance and administration of a charity."

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