Confusion reigns in ASA standoff

2014-01-12 10:01

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Sascoc, sports department say Evans’ ousting was constitutional

In a desperate bid to cling to power, embattled Athletics SA (ASA) president James Evans has planned to meet the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at its headquarters in Monaco this weekend.

Evans told City Press he would be there for another meeting and would take the opportunity to speak to the IAAF during the same trip.

The announcement by the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) this week that it recognises the ASA interim board poses a much bigger threat for Evans because he also serves in continental and international athletics commissions.

He was recently appointed to serve on the jury of appeal for the World Half Marathon Championships, which take place in Copenhagen, Denmark, in March.

Evans also serves as:

»?The area representative for Africa and Oceania on the International Association of Ultrarunners until 2016;

»?A member of the IAAF Road Running Commission until 2015; and

»?A member of the Confederation of African Athletics marketing commission.

Sascoc this week issued a joint statement with the sport and recreation department, saying that it appeared the process to oust the board led by Evans at an annual general meeting in November last year was constitutional.

Evans was replaced by a seven-member interim committee, but he argued that the meeting was invalid and unconstitutional.

But Sascoc said its pronouncement is pending the outcome of the imminent meeting between the Olympic governing body, Sam Ramsamy and the IAAF.

Ramsamy, who is South Africa’s representative to the International Olympic Committee, was appointed by the IAAF to resolve the matter of ASA’s suspension with Cheikh Thiare, who is the executive assistant to IAAF president Lamine Diack.

When the matter is resolved, Sascoc will consider whether the suspension of ASA’s membership could be lifted.

To add to the confusion, the IAAF said it still recognises Evans and his board as the people in charge of ASA.

In an email sent to ASA staff on December 6, the IAAF said it “continues to work with ASA headed by James Evans and not interim boards unless they are approved by us, and this is not the case here”.

This followed an enquiry by the staff about whether they should receive instructions from the board elected in 2012 or from the interim board.

Evans, whose board has been reduced to three members after a spate of resignations late last year, has also filed an application with the Arbitration Foundation of Southern Africa (Afsa).

When contacted, Afsa registrar Isabel Terk told City Press that “all arbitration referrals to Afsa are confidential”.

But City Press sources said that Afsa had given the interim board two weeks to respond.

The interim board chair, Sello Mokoena, who is also the president of KwaZulu-Natal Athletics, said: “Sascoc echoes our sentiments. This has been our position right from the beginning.

“Suffice to say that the ASA constitution makes it clear that the final arbiter on the constitution is the ASA annual general meeting, not Afsa.”

Mokoena said he was not at liberty to comment on ASA and Afsa internal matters in public.

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