ASA war rages on as bigwigs fly in

2014-02-23 14:00

The future of Athletics SA (ASA) athletes in international competitions will become clearer now that the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) has finally turned up to defuse the drawn-out leadership dispute at the embattled national federation – that is, if the meeting proposed for today goes ahead.

The ASA interim board on Thursday launched a high court application at the North Gauteng High Court in another move to oust embattled ASA president James Evans.

How the IAAF will react to this will be a case of “wait and see”, as such moves are scorned by global sporting organisations, which prefer matters to be sorted out internally.

“We served Evans with the papers,” said interim committee chair Sello Mokoena. According to him, they wanted the meeting with the IAAF to take place yesterday.

But Evans’ proposed date was today, which he noted in the memo sent out to the provinces and associate members midweek.

Evans said the IAAF had confirmed it would be sending a delegation to South Africa this weekend and they wished to meet with the ASA membership.

The meeting was set to take place in Joburg and the agenda was to “find a way to a fair, peaceful and democratic solution to the present crisis in South African athletics”, according to Evans.

Cheikh Thiare, the executive assistant to IAAF president Lamine Diack, will head the international athletics body’s delegation as it had initially tasked him to facilitate the mediation process along with South Africa’s International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Sam Ramsamy.

Ramsamy won’t be part of this weekend’s gathering as he is attending the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, in his capacity as an IOC delegate.

The IAAF’s imminent visit to the country is long overdue after Thiare failed to arrive on two occasions, leaving the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) seething. Sascoc lifted the suspension of ASA’s membership last month after it had provisionally cut ties last June.

Today’s meeting will take place a day before the registration deadline for the IAAF World Indoor Championships in Poland next month.

Due to the prolonged battles at ASA, it was not clear who between the federations’ interim board and Evans would register the team for the global event that runs in Sopot from March 7 to 9.

The same confusion had overshadowed the selection of the team to the IAAF World Half Marathon Championships in Denmark on March 29.

The interim board had already announced provisional teams to the two events despite the IAAF continuously saying it did not recognise the ad hoc structure.

Now with another court case in the mix, this could add confusion to the already volatile situation and further cast doubts over South African athletes’ participation at future IAAF events.

Worse still, South Africa could face being banned should ASA’s political crisis not be resolved.

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