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Spain's sports council orders RFEF to return Haiti grant funds

Haitian children pictured playing football in 2011 in Fort National, which was badly damaged by the earthquake.

Spain's sports council (CSD) has confirmed to ESPN FC that it has demanded that the Spanish FA (RFEF) returns government money that it did not spend on a project in Haiti as intended.

The CSD gave the RFEF a €219,500 ($240,000) grant to build a football school in Haiti following the devastating earthquake that struck the Caribbean nation in January 2010, but El Mundo reported on Friday that most of that was diverted to other federation expenses.

CSD head of communications Victor Charneco told ESPN FC: "I can confirm that a few months ago we requested for the RFEF to return part of the grant in question for the amounts that have not been justified.

"The Federation is aware of this process and they have a right to appeal via the legal courts.

"Should they not abide, the CSD has the necessary tools to proceed to recover that money."

The grant given was intended to build a school in Haiti for around 120 to 150 children but also to send the necessary kits, material, food and medicine as aid.

El Mundo reported that the school was never built and that, of the €219,500 of public funds handed to the RFEF, more than €176,000 ($192,330) was used to cover other FA expenses unrelated to helping the Haitian children, such as paying wages of coaches within its football schools.

Evans Lescouflair, the former Haitian Minister for Youth, Sport and Civic, told the Spanish publication that he heard of no further developments regarding this project.

According to El Mundo, the RFEF, which did have two of its executives travel to the country in September 2011, only sent football boots and goals to Haiti.

The RFEF declined to comment when contacted by ESPN FC.

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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