What does Sascoc not understand about the IAAF’s ruling?

2013-06-29 00:00

SASCOC’S involvement in suspending Athletics South Africa (ASA) is harmful, writes Graeme Joffe in an open letter to Sascoc CEO Tubby Reddy

Dear Mr Reddy,

Welcome back from all your June travels.

I also read with interest where you said the meeting with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) “went well”. Really?

Do you have minutes from the meeting or was it just another one of your closed-door meetings with the Sascoc slant?

Secondly, did you really believe the IAAF was going to change its tough stance on Sascoc’s flagrant disregard for rules and regulations, let alone the nasty arrogance?

The meeting must have gone really well for you to hand back ASA to the suspended board and the Sascoc-appointed administrator, Zola Majavu, has had to step aside.

Who’s going to pay the ASA legal bills that have now run into millions of rands?

But you obviously cannot handle defeat.

Sascoc suspended ASA at its president’s council last weekend, which is just unbelievable. It also means no Opex funding for any of our athletes.

Does this make you happy Mr Reddy? What part of this letter from the IAAF on June 21 did Sascoc not understand?

“Having now met with Sascoc, I can confirm that the IAAF continues today to recognise the ASA Board that was democratically elected in 2012 in accordance with the ASA constitution. As such, that is the body that currently has authority to select and enter teams for the forthcoming IAAF World Championships this summer, starting next month with the World Youth Championships in Donetsk.” — Cheikh Thiaré, director of the IAAF president’s executive office.

SA athletes were supposed to compete in the Southern Regions Youth Championships at the beginning of this month in Botswana. The team was announced just five days before the event. The event was cancelled at the last minute and to this date, the athletes have not received their national colours or any other form of recognition.

According to the IAAF’s website, the entries for the World Youth Championships closed on June 24. This means our athletes lose an opportunity that only comes round once in a lifetime, the year in which they turn 17.

On June 6, you made a statement: “The athletes cannot be hamstrung because of this situation. There has been no indication that our athletes would not go to the world championships. We’ve done special applications to the Lotto and we’re doing everything we can to make sure we have the resources to send them. We would still seek every avenue for our athletes to participate.”

If participation of senior athletes at the World Championships in Moscow in August is so important to you Mr Reddy, why is the participation of our youth athletes in the Ukraine not as important?

Are they being discriminated against because they are young? Why are you hurting them to prove a point to James Evans and the IAAF? Why should the athletes be denied the opportunity due to the arrogance of one man?

South Africa has a number of youth athletes on the world’s top-10 lists and you are denying them the opportunity to bring home gold.

With the suspension of ASA, Sascoc has decided that athletes of ASA will not be included in future Team South Africa squads at all youth and senior levels.

Is this what you meant when you said, “the athletes cannot be hamstrung because of this situation”.

Instead, you have put the athletes right in the middle of the crossfire.

It also amazes me how quiet Sascoc president Gideon Sam and the sports minister have been on the ASA issue. You seem to be making all the decisions and in the words of Frank Sinatra, “I’ll do it my way”.

What also amazes me is how quiet you’ve been of late on the Safa issue (match fixing allegations) and CSA (bowing to the pressure of the BCCI not to appoint Haroon Lorgat as CEO). Not as easy to bully Safa and CSA like the small federations? Oh wait, that’s right.

In a Sascoc complaint to the Press Ombudsman, you say “CSA is an organisation independent of Sascoc and Sascoc is not authorised nor obliged to intervene in the affairs of CSA in any way”.

So, are you saying Sascoc had nothing to do with: the Protea badge saga, the Nicholson inquiry, helping Norman Arendse get back onto the board and pressurising CSA to revert to a nine-province system?

To say Sascoc is not authorised to intervene in the affairs of CSA is disingenuous in the extreme!

But that’s how Sascoc rolls.

Mr Reddy, you were recently quoted as saying you are “unpopular because you’re trying to clean up SA sport”.

No sir, you are unpopular because you are doing what’s best for you, family and friends and SA sport is just the vehicle.

Mr Reddy, finally, I see that Sascoc board member Hajera Kajee and yourself are standing for election to the Association of National Olympic Committees of Africa (Anoca). Is this just to get more frequent flyer miles or to get more fingers in the pie?

I would only encourage if it means you will resign from your position as Sascoc CEO.

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