Sascoc says IAAF meeting went well

2013-06-17 13:02

South Africa’s Olympic chief says he had a constructive meeting with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) at the weekend in an effort to explain the administrative takeover of Athletics SA (ASA) and prevent international sanctions.

Tubby Reddy, chief executive of the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc), confirmed on Monday he had met with IAAF representatives on the sidelines of an Association of National Olympic Committees (Anoc) gathering in Lausanne, Switzerland.

“The meeting went very well,” Reddy said.

“I cannot comment on the details, however, until I have given feedback to the Sascoc board, which I will do tomorrow.”

The IAAF said earlier this month it would send a delegation to South Africa to meet Sascoc and the ASA, suggesting the national athletics federation could be suspended by the global governing body due to outside interference.

“It is a fundamental principle of the IAAF’s governance of the sport of athletics that its national governing bodies are run – and are allowed to be run – as democratically elected institutions, in accordance with their statutes, free from any influence or interference,” Cheikh Thiare, director of the executive office of the IAAF president, told Reddy in an email.

“Membership of the IAAF and the right to participate in international competitions is conditional upon such principle being upheld without derogation or compromise in any measure.”

Reddy, however, said the Olympic body would uphold its suspensions of ASA president James Evans and the entire board for financial irregularities and autocratic leadership within the organisation.

He hoped the meeting in Lausanne would prevent international sanctions against the ASA.

“It will be fine. We will sit at the table and they will get both sides of the picture,” Reddy said ahead of the Anoc gathering.

If an agreement with the IAAF could not be reached, Reddy said Sascoc would take the matter to the International Olympic Committee’ ethics commission and, if need be, the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

The dispute between Sascoc and Evans, who was fighting his suspension in court, continued last week when Evans, still recognised by the IAAF as the ASA president, released a team of 33 athletes for the World Youth Championships in Donetsk, Ukraine, next month.

Evans said the team had been selected by the ASA track-and-field commission, which had not been suspended by Sascoc.

Board member Pieter Lourens, a committee member who had been suspended by the Olympic body, had chosen not to participate in the selection process.

Reddy, however, rejected the team, as it had not been cleared by the Sascoc-recognised ASA administration. He said the athletics federation could not “function outside the systems designated by the South African sports act and the processes of Sascoc”.

If the ASA wanted to send a team to the global youth championships, ASA administrator Zola Majavu, appointed by the Olympic body in April, would need to assess whether the federation had the budget to send a team.

Majavu would also need to request Sascoc’s permission to send a team, and clarify the selection policy.

South Africa’s regular international campaign had already taken a knock this season, with no teams selected for continental track-and-field championships.

The Confederation of African Athletics confirmed earlier this month South Africa would no longer host the African Junior Championships at the end of June, as the IAAF did not recognise the current ASA administration. The event was postponed indefinitely and the bidding process would be reopened.

This followed the country’s withdrawal earlier this year as hosts of the Southern Region Youth Athletics Championships.

South Africa did not send teams to the inaugural African Youth Championships in Nigeria in April, or the Southern Region Senior Championships in Botswana last month.

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