Pressing Issues: Is this a Safa or a Fifa trust fund?

2012-04-21 16:34

News of the first 2010 Fifa World Cup Legacy Trust board meeting, held on Tuesday, has been met with mixed feelings.

A number of questions and issues have been raised.

While this should be applauded and welcomed as a new dawn in South African football, public comment on different platforms has been more of concern.

For starters, why did it take almost two years since the completion of the tournament for the board to have its first meeting?

While it’s good that Fifa came up with the idea, it raises eyebrows that this is the first time such a structure has been formed.

It has never happened before in any of the other countries the World Cup was played in, including Germany, who were the last hosts before South Africa in 2006.

The fact that the board of nine members had three Fifa representatives – in secretary-general Jérôme Valcke, Thierry Regenass and Federico Adiechi – who are all Europeans could easily be read to mean that the world football governing body does not trust Africans with so much money.

The other members are chairperson Daniel Alexander “Danny” Jordaan, Safa president Kirsten Nematandani, Eric Mtshatsha (Safa), Department of Sport and Recreation director-general Alec Moemi and top legal brain Michael Katz, who represents the business sector.

What should also raise questions is that out of a total of R700 million allocated to the legacy project, only R450 million went into the trust.

This is because Safa had already received an advance of R140 million.

According to the statement released after the board meeting, the advance consisted of R40 million to build Safa House, R70 million for football development projects and R70 million for a fleet of buses and cars for the 52 Safa regions.

As we speak, those buses, including the one used by Bafana Bafana during the World Cup, are stationary and parked outside Safa House (see picture below).

The statement was issued by Safa on a Fifa letterhead and stated at the end: “For further details of the Trust as well as quotes from the trustees, please visit Fifa.com.”

Now a question rises: Is this a Safa or a Fifa trust fund?

Given the background, Jordaan and the South Africans on the boards have their work cut out for them convincing the West, especially Europe, that Africans can handle money with integrity and no need for policing.

Another thorny question that kept cropping up this week is: How are the other African countries going to benefit from this trust, as the 2010 event was sold as “An African World Cup”.

» smseleku@citypress.co.za


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