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Sir Trevor Brooking to be Questioned over Missing Sports Funds

Sir Trevor Brooking is set to be questioned about his time as chairman of Sport England after it was revealed yesterday that almost £20 million had disappeared through a secret account thought to belong to a grassroots funding Quango.

The revelations prompted current Sport England chair, Richard Lewis, to contact Trevor Brooking yesterday to inform him that an independent inquiry had been launched to look into the activities of the World Class Payments Bureau, which allegedly made payments to athletes and administrators between 1999 and 2007.

Lewis launched his inquiry into the off-balance-sheet account after it was discovered on a bank statement which was sent to Sport England’s headquarters in Bloomsbury, London, last December. An internal investigation uncovered that the account had received payments of £19.7 million, which prompted Lewis to go public with his investigations in a bid to determine whether any fraudulent practice had taken place.

Sport England distributes funds to national governing bodies through a merit-based system, but the throughout the time the World Class Payments Bureau was operating several payments to smaller governing bodies were officially put through the books only to be diverted into the secret account. However, because the books balanced and the money sat outside of the audited accounts, it went unnoticed for years.

There is no suggestion that Brooking was involved in auditing unauthorised payments – or that the former England international was even aware that the account existed – but the inquiries lead investigator, QC Tim Dutton, has confirmed that he will ask questions to all senior Sport England figures who were involved during the time that the account was set up.
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