Safa in cash crisis

2010-09-12 10:38

Two months after splashing out money on chartered flights, accommodation at five-star hotels and expensive lunches for the World Cup, the SA Football Association (Safa) finds itself in financial constraints.

Last month the association’s chief executive, Leslie Sedibe, wrote to some executives that “based on our forecast, we are looking at a shortfall of R65?million”.

He was informing them that advocate ­McCaps Motimele had “proposed a budget of R3?million” and that “there are a number of practical constraints that we would have to deal with to overcome this challenge”.

Safa is waiting for their spoils from the 2010 World Cup and many believe this is part of the reason for its postponement of its annual general meeting, which was originally scheduled for September 25 but has now been postponed to December 4.

Speculation is that Safa will receive around R800?million in profits from Fifa after reportedly getting an advance of around R200?million.

The advances include the R60 million Fifa gave for the erection of ­Safa House outside the FNB Stadium.

Safa was also given money to prepare Bafana Bafana for the World Cup.

Sedibe could neither confirm nor deny these figures, saying: “The only amount I am aware of is a $9 million (about R64.8 million) grant from Fifa that came during my tenure.”

But he admitted that Brazilian coach ­Carlos Alberto Parreira’s monthly salary of R1.8 million was paid by Fifa.
Pitso Mosimane’s payment would come from Safa’s corporate account, he said.

In a wide-ranging interview with City Press on Friday Sedibe said using private jets was cheaper than flying Safa’s top brass in commercial flights during the World Cup and this was “only for the Bafana game in Bloemfontein and the two semi-finals in Cape Town and Durban”.

An amount of R60?061?661 recorded in Safa’s draft financial statement as “Exceptional expenses” consists of hospitality packages purchased for the 2010 World Cup and has already caused a stir in football circles.

Sedibe refused to answer questions around this and allegations that Safa had spent around R30?million for travel and accommodation during the World Cup period.

He would also not respond to allegations that some Safa executive members had stayed in posh hotels with their spouses for the duration of the event on Safa’s account.

All he said was: “People must not confuse the programmes of the LOC (Local Organising Committee) with those of Safa.”

He however acknowledged that Safa had spent R600 000 on food and drinks for their invited guests during the opening match between Bafana Bafana and Mexico as well as for the final on July 11.

“The hospitality packages were bought before I joined Safa.

The core of Safa are the 52 regions and the 11 special members.

Some of these people could not afford tickets to the matches so we bought them and this money will come back to Safa as profits from all the World Cup ticket sales.”

He said Safa would meet with Fifa “towards the end of the month”.
Among other things, the two organisations are expected to discuss disbursements of profits from the 2010 World Cup.

The LOC board will hold a meeting that will be attended by Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke on September 23 to wrap up its business.

Safa will officially move to Safa House at the beginning of October.

City Press could not verify reports that Fifa was planning to propose opening a trust fund from which money would only be released for projects after Safa had provided a budget.

There is also talk that the Premier Soccer League is withholding the funds they promised to give to Safa annually following a ­R7 million donation handed to former president Molefi Oliphant by chairperson Irvin Khoza last year towards development.

Before getting hot under the collar during the City Press interview Sedibe had been all smiles as he brandished a letter that he claimed contained good financial news.

He however refused to share the contents of the letter.

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