Government makes Safa hearts ‘bleed’

2013-05-05 10:00

Safa produced a slew of reasons this week as to why the state is behind its cash troubles. S’Busiso Mseleku and Timothy Molobi report

Local soccer’s governing body, the SA Football Association (Safa), took a swipe at government this week saying its troubles are courtesy of the state.

They blamed government for taking the FNB Stadium from them before the 2010 Fifa World Cup without compensation.

Safa also says government forced them to sell Bafana Bafana broadcasting rights to the SABC, though they could have made more money selling them to SuperSport.

Safa vice-president Danny Jordaan told the committee: “Safa owned the FNB Stadium, valued at R580 million. But, before the World Cup, government stated it could not invest in a stadium owned by a football organisation, and the then minister, Ngconde Balfour, demanded the stadium be handed over to government without any compensation.”

Jordaan said Safa had spent R150 million and R170 million in bidding for the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. He also asked the committee to read government’s World Cup report, released by the sports department last month, for more information on the World Cup Legacy Trust Fund

Figures from the report on the 2010 World Cup Legacy Trust

Fifa contributed $100 million (R700 million at the Fifa-Safa agreed exchange rate) to the legacy trust. $80 million was meant to be invested directly in social community projects, and $20 million was paid to Safa to cover World Cup preparations for Bafana and the construction of Safa House.

For the first project financed by the trust, Fifa purchased 35 team buses and 52 vehicles, which were handed over to Safa in December 2010 for its regional teams.

In the end, R450 million was paid over (converted from the $65 million that remained).

The trust is managed by auditing firm Ernst & Young, and its board is made up of Fifa, Safa, government and private-sector representatives who must decide on how funds are spent. The board must approve all projects.

Safa chief executive Dennis Mumble said: “Safa is the only federation whose national football team must always have their games televised on free-to-air television.”

Safa presented a sheet showing they only made R27 million from broadcasting rights for the 2012 financial year, while rugby generated R307 million and cricket got R277 million.

Safa financial affairs in comparison with cricket/rugby

Association              SAFA                             Cricket SA             SA Rugby

Year end date          June 2012                   April 2012                Dec 2012

Revenue                     R312 million               R430 million           R689 million

Broadcast                  R27 million                 R277 million           R307 million

Sponsorship            R202 million              R55 million               R272 million

Committee chair Richard Mdakane told City Press they would take Safa’s plea about the stadium to Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula as “they really feel it would help them generate more revenue”.

He said there was nothing they could do on the broadcast-rights issue, as much as they sympathised with Safa.

“Soccer is a mass sporting code, but millions of South Africans do not have decoders (pay-TV), hence football should remain with the public broadcaster,” he said.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani said their hands were tied.

“Even our tickets are priced lower than the other sports. I am sure you can take about 50 or more people into a stadium for a soccer match on the price of one rugby ticket.”

He said the stadium issue “makes our hearts bleed”.

Safa asked the committee if they could assist in speeding up the process of setting up a judicial commission of inquiry into match-fixing.

Mdakane yesterday said they would follow this up, but there was not much they could do other than wait for President Jacob Zuma to make a call.

Safa’s finances were discussed at length, with a number of committee members registering concern.

Mumble, former CEO Dr Robin Petersen and chief financial officer Gronie Hluyo provided a detailed report.

Hluyo said Safa had incurred a loss of R56 million in the past financial year, but had been building up reserves and, after covering this loss, were left with reserves of R42 million.

He explained there were more current liabilities than assets, with the gap being R92 million, but total assets outweighed total liabilities by R42 million.

Safa had received an unqualified audit report from KPMG and were not bankrupt.

According to Mdakane, they accepted Safa’s financial status, but said they had asked that Safa be run “professionally”, in order for it to become the “best in the world”.

He said: “No one will sponsor an organisation that is not run professionally. We also told them petty bickering and greediness should not apply.”

Summary- SAFA briefing on Governance, Development, Transformation, Match-fixing & 2010 World Cup Legacy...

Update presentation: The Safa Infrastructure Development Foundation

Safa presentation- Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Sport and Recreation

Group annual financial statements and annual financial statements

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