Safa is ‘in a crisis’

2013-04-16 16:52

The SA Football Association (Safa) has been on a downward spiral since the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the government and South Africa’s highest sporting body have said.

In a joint statement, the sports ministry and the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) said they had offered Safa “unwavering support” in recent years, but the football body was in crisis.

“Safa has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons,” they said today.

“Football-loving South Africans have been exposed to diatribes and serious allegations.”

A long list of allegations included match-fixing, inappropriate use and disbursement of the Fifa legacy trust funds, and corruption, highlighted in an anonymous document dropped off at Sascoc’s office in Johannesburg.

A KPMG report into Safa’s finances also revealed the football body was R92 million in the red and on the brink of bankruptcy.

“Over and above the aforementioned allegations, there have been tensions protracted and perennial problems of mishandling leadership and management disputes.

“These played themselves out on the eve of our hosting the Africa Cup of Nations (earlier this year). It took our intervention as the ministry of sport and recreation and Sascoc to request the Safa leadership to desist from engaging in public spats or making pronouncements that will bring the name of football into disrepute.”

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula and Safa president Kirsten Nematandani travelled to Zurich earlier this month to assure global football body Fifa that the South African government was not interfering with football in the country.

“The minister travelled to Fifa to clarify that there was no interference and no intentions to interfere. The ministry and Sascoc’s involvement was by Safa’s invitation.

“Secondly, in terms of our legislation as a sovereign government that promulgates laws for the establishment of the confederation, federations and other sports bodies, we are empowered by the same laws to intervene in reported instances of maladministration and mismanagement.

“We indicated that, in terms of our laws, match-fixing/match manipulation and financial mismanagement are considered as acts of criminality.”

The sports ministry confirmed in the first week of April that a judicial inquiry would be conducted into allegations of match-fixing during 2010 World Cup warm-up matches.

Safa had wanted an independent inquiry to investigate the alleged corruption.

“Going forward, the matter is in the hands of the South African government and we will consider it, taking into account the merits and demerits of each proposal to us,” the ministry and Sascoc said.

“We do not expect any comments on the matter until the government has pronounced on the course of action to be taken concerning Safa.”

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