Safa has a huge mountain to climb

2013-10-13 14:00

Newly appointed executive assailed by sponsorship problems, unhappy teams

The newly elected SA Football Association (Safa) executive, led by Danny Jordaan, has its work cut out.

Two weeks into office, City Press has learnt that giant banking institution Absa will not renew their sponsorship contracts when it ends in December.

Absa and SABMiller are the main Bafana Bafana financial backers.

Last week, Jordaan confirmed to City Press that kit sponsor Puma had already left the association, less than two years after entering into the agreement.

It is believed the apparel company severed ties as they didn’t want to be “associated with the stench of the match-fixing allegations” that rocked Safa in December last year.

Safa reported a R46 million loss at the end of its last financial year, which ended in June. This was ­ R10 million less than the previous year’s deficit.

Last year, Absa and SABMiller reduced their sponsorship from R100 million to R20 million each per year.

Earlier this year, Mercedes-Benz also did not renew its backing.

The latest development comes in a week in which a R3 million, ­ three-year-deal with Sasol for the Safa Development Agency (SDA) was announced.

Last week, Jordaan said the market was responding positively to the new leadership.

Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi confirmed Absa’s stance.

“The current contract runs until December and, as such, it was not necessary to look beyond the current deal. We are not interested in continuing that relationship and I don’t think we will extend it beyond December,” he said.

As if that wasn’t enough, Second Division clubs are up in arms over unfulfilled obligations and have threatened to boycott next weekend’s kickoff of the sponsorless league.

The clubs have accused Safa of engaging in “divide-and-rule tactics”.

Limpopo clubs that have a 17-team league, unlike the 16 in all the other provinces, have formed a forum with Phungo All Stars’ Tshifhiwa Thidiela as their mouthpiece.

He said they had proposed to Safa to have a national meeting with all the clubs so they could raise and resolve their issues.

They have also called for Jordaan to intervene as their grievances had previously “fallen on deaf ears”.

Complaints include last season’s matches being played a fortnight ago and a player using different names.

“We are being treated like rubbish by Safa,” fumed Thidiela.

“There is no respect and we have nowhere to raise our grievances. We are being forced to play with 17 teams and we don’t know where the extra team comes from as there were two teams relegated and two promoted.”

He said clubs had not received playing kits from Safa last season, contrary to the rules.

“Teams also did not receive the R30 000 seasonal travelling allowance. They also promised to pay the referees’ travelling allowance but when referees did not receive their allowances we ended up paying and have not been reimbursed,” said Thidiela.

Wembezi Juventus boss Sipho Makhathini threatened to take Safa to court if he did not get joy from a case in which one of his players rocked up for another team under a different name.

Chimhavi said: “There have been minor problems with the payment of grants. As we all know, the league has had no sponsorship.

“Some clubs did not provide correct banking details, which also delayed the payment of these grants. The kits are here and awaiting collection by the clubs.

“This is a national and huge league, and problems will occur here and there in such an enormous establishment.”

He continued: “This is nothing to shout about as most issues are resolved urgently. We have spoken to all clubs concerned and we are confident the league will commence without any hiccups. The new executive has just come into office and they are going to engage clubs and resolve all outstanding issues.”

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