On 29 July 2012 Ilco Gjorgjioski was elected as new president of the Football Federation. He is former player and national team coach. A good background and a good start by then.
Unfortunately, a period of the largest decline of football in the country started with him becoming a president.
Macedonia has dropped 36 places for 4 years. In July 2012, when Gjorgjioski became president of FFM, the country was ranked 103rd. Just four years later it is ranked 139th.
Gjoko Hadzievski, former national team coach says:
“Their function as president or national team coach is responsible, but the results are desperate. How would it be if I, as a coach, lost 10 matches in a row and still held the position?
But Ilco Gjorgjioski does not think about resigning at all. Despite the decline of nearly 40 places, he proposes strategic plans for the Macedonian football for the next 5 and 10 years.
“It is absurd. The person or the team that made such disastrous results in the past 4 years to be given a chance to get 10 years. It is so illogical. In fact illogical is a kind word, a little harsher, it is insane” , Dragan Tomovski, former director of FC Cementarnica emphasizes.
But the ranking drop is not the only problem the Football Federation is facing. There are also remarks on Gjorgjioski’s election.
“There are doubts that forgery has been committed and it is a crime. One cannot realize a right by forging documents. It was a crime and we pointed to it. The largest ground that it was a crime was the statement signed by Mr. Dragi Mitkovski with a seal of a notary whose name cannot be read”,. Ljubomir Gjurcevski, former delegate of the Assembly of FFM said to SCOOP team.
Twenty six out of the eighty six delegates attending the Assembly for election of Gjorgjioski as president have recently submitted notary statements to the football bodies FIFA and UEFA that political pressure has been exerted on them. They say this is strictly forbidden under the rules of these international organizations.
Ljubomir Gjurcevski, former delegate of the Assembly of FFM explains:
“Certain members were called in the office of the Minister Mile Janakieski, who was allegedly obliged to follow the election of the President of the Football Federation. There were 6 or 7 members present there when a verbal argument started between me and the Minister Mile Janakieski in his office. There are doubts, that is data which I have, that pressures have been directly exerted on President Hari and on certain delegates to the assembly by Kiril Bozinovski, Martin Protugjer, Ljupco Todorovski, Goran Trajkovski, who was director of the Public Revenue Office”.
Some say there are indications of closeness between the former Prime Minister and leader of VMRO-DPMNE, Nikola Gruevski and Ilco Gjorgjioski. They were both born in 1971 and grew up in “Socijalisticka Zora” St. now renamed Hristo Batanchiev in the settlement Gjorce Petrov.
Gruevski’s relation to this street is seen in the newspaper “Vecer” dating January this year. It is stated that on the third day of the New Year Gruevski held last of the traditional meetings with friends from his neighborhood. For years, the former PM has been part of gatherings to celebrate the start of the New Year.
We learned about the political pressures on the leaders of Macedonian football from the “bombs” released by the opposition.
Famous Macedonian football names say that licensing of coaches appointed by the Federation is also problematic.
Nikola Ilievski-Dzidzi, former national team coach is convinced that famous trainers are marginalized, while unknown football workers are being favored.
“Come on, from the fifth league they come to pro license. They can’t have met the criteria. There are coaches like Hadzievski, Babunski, Kanatlarovski or younger, Zaharievski, Serafimovski, Toni Micevski, Mitko Stojkovski and some others who may contribute to the development of football, but it is someone from Shishevo, I would like to apologize for mentioning Shishevo or Ilinden”, Ilievski added.
According to football connoisseurs, politics and illegal activities are steeped in FFM. They say that apart from the questionable election, the name of Gjorgjioski is related to other doubts about irregularities.
According to the Ljubomir Gjurcevski, former delegate of the Assembly of FFM, there were irregularities with the building of the Sports center “Petar Miloshevski”.
“1.8 million Euros were spent for changing rooms in the center Petar Miloshevski, next to the headquarters of the Football Federation, just for the changing rooms, outside the stands, outside the grass. For a building smaller than 500 square meters. Take into consideration that that building with a construction cost of 500 Euros per square meter would not exceed 250,000 Euros. Let it be 500.000 Euros. But to spend 1.8 million Euros? Had it been gold it would not have cost that much”, he explains.
Gjurcevski claims that supervisory works on this center have been carried out by close relatives of the president Gjorgjioski.
“According to our information, supervision of these construction works, conducted by the Football Federation, is performed by the company of Ilco Gjorgjioski’s brother-in-law, Andrej Prasinov”, he believes.
There are additional doubts about irregularities in carrying out construction work on the football stadiums. He has allegedly granted construction work on part of the stadiums in the country to the company ZRD MK Engineering in Skopje. In this company Gjorgjioski appears as a co-founder along with 3 other people from Turkey.
Ljubomir Gjurcevski, former delegate of the Assembly of FFM notes:
“It turns out that President Ilco Gjorgjioski has awarded construction work to himself where investor is the Football Federation and he is its president. Moreover, the company where the founder is his brother-in-law Andrej Prasinov has been awarded supervision. It is an unprecedented conflict of interest”.
For connoisseurs of the situation the salary of the president of FFM Ilco Gjorgjioski is also questionable.
“In 2015 Mr. Ilco Gjorgjioski himself signed his contract and employed himself in the Football Federation with a salary of 250,000 denars. That is about 4,000 Euros monthly salary”, Gjurcevski claims.
Does the answer to the sharp decline in the Macedonian football lie here?
The reputation of the Macedonian football was subject of ridicule in European and world football circles in the election of the FIFA president Gianni Infantino. He completely ignored Ilco Gjorgjioski’s attempts to congratulate him on the FIFA presidency.
CIJ SCOOP-Macedonia has sent requests for statements to all concerned in the story, but we have not received answers until the finishing of the documentary.
(The story has been supported by the National Endowment for democracy project “Raising Awareness About Corruption through Investigative Reporting”)