Safa: financially struggling

2013-04-29 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — The now-dysfunctional SA Football Association is facing serious financial difficulties and may have “dipped into” Fifa’s World Cup legacy money to keep it “afloat”, it was reported yesterday.

Although Fifa had already dismissed any allegations over the improper use of the R450 million legacy fund it left South Africa from the 2010 World Cup, a report in the Sunday Times yesterday was another indication of the crisis facing the national federation, which will soon be investigated by the government.

The ongoing allegations of major financial mismanagement and corruption within Safa over possible match-fixing just before the World Cup have led to clear concerns from the South African government and national Olympic committee over the running of football.

Safa’s troubles have also created friction between SA and former partner and world body Fifa over the scope of the upcoming government-led investigation, which the football parties want to be limited to just investigating match-fixing.

The Sports Ministry and South African Sports Confederation and Olympic committee feel there are more problems to be looked into. The country’s independent judicial inquiry into football has gone right to the top, with President Jacob Zuma set to decide on the parameters of the investigation.

Zuma’s office said the president would take into account various protocols, including Fifa’s rules against governments interfering in independent football bodies, but the government’s obvious frustration with Safa may lead it to a fuller probe. That would push South Africa toward an international football ban by Fifa.

Meanwhile, the report raised concerns over the use of around R109 million of World Cup money, which it said was separate to the main legacy fund and moved to Safa’s accounts over the past two years.

The newspaper also said Safa had just R2,9 million in the bank at the end of the financial year in 2012. It said it had seen figures from an audit of Safa’s accounts for the year up to June 2012, which showed the federation had made a loss of R54,5 million and “burned cash” when it was struggling with diminished sponsorship. — AP.

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