Soccer bosses’ Merc splurge

2011-06-18 19:48

Soccer bosses will soon be driving around in 25 brand new Mercs as Safa spends R10 million on its executive’s transport needs.

This is on top of R28 million the association has already spent on 52 22-seater buses for the regions, R16 million on the same number of cars for the same regions as well as R35 million on 35 luxury buses.

Safa’s fourth vice-president, Danny Jordaan, who served on the World Cup Local Organising Committee, said on Friday the money used was not a windfall from the World Cup but was from what Safa had saved from the R3.2 billion budget for the event.

Safa was guaranteed $100 million (about R700 million) from the profits of hosting the event.

It took an advance of about R140m to build Safa House and another amount was spent on Bafana’s preparations.

Jordaan said another R35 million had been used to buy the 35 buses, meaning only R525m would go into the Safa/Fifa Legacy Trust.

Jordaan said the remaining R10 million from the Local Organising Committee’s savings would be added to the R525 million in the trust.

He said they had already opened a trust account and appointed a board of trustees to administer the fund.

Some of the board members are Jordaan, Nematandani, Fifa’s secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, and acting director-general of the sports and recreation department Sumayya Khan, NEC members Elvis Shishana and Henry Mosese and Fifa’s head of Corporate Responsibility Federico Addiechi.

Jordaan said they expected the Fifa windfall as early as this week.

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani, who was with Jordaan during the interview, said the top-of-the range German sedans were not a thank-you for helping the country host what Fifa president Sepp Blatter termed ”the best World Cup ever”.

“We made it clear that there would be no bonuses for anyone for the World Cup and these cars should not be seen as a token of appreciation,” said Nematandani.

“This is to avoid a situation of NEC members using region’s cars to attend meetings and for other reasons,” said Jordaan.

He said the new cars, which would help facilitate development in all the regions, would be delivered to national executive committee members soon.

Those who will not receive cars are Mandla Mazibuko, ­Irvin ­Khoza, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, ­Jordaan and Nematandani as they already own similar vehicles.

Nematandani said the cars were the property of the association but members would have the option of buying them at the end of their terms.

Nematandani and Jordaan, who have lately been showing close ­camaraderie, defying talk that they were pulling in opposite directions, shot down reports of a rift between them.

“We have our differences but every family has its own differences,” said Nematandani.

“But if anything, differences make one grow. You learn from mistakes and that to me is life. By the way I do listen a lot. But I am not a quitter. If I start something I will see to it that I finish it.”

He also said while the job of overseeing the country’s soccer sporting body was at times trying, he relished the challenge and scoffed at talk that he was contemplating throwing in the towel.

“That has never crossed my mind. Sometimes you look back and ask yourself; ‘What am I gaining in this thankless job?

“But then you reflect that people have empowered you with developing the game and taking it to the next level, the need to want to make a difference in your society country and then you tell yourself: I will see this challenge to the end. That is what keeps me going.

A job without challenges brings little satisfaction.

I sometimes have serious differences with my colleagues. You cannot agree on everything,” he said.

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