Safa is no holy cow

Johannesburg - This week, the SA Football Association (Safa) showed its true colours.

Instead of addressing matters of national importance, Safa went on a tirade against the media and everyone else who disagreed with it.

The association threatened, then blocked, everyone who criticised it on social media.

When the media told the truth, Safa accused them of trying to destabilise the association.

Safa also accused the media of plotting against its president, Danny Jordaan, and trying him in the court of public opinion.

They even compared Jordaan’s situation to that of former president Jacob Zuma.

“We have seen how former president Jacob Zuma was subjected to a trial by media, and the same is likely to happen with Mr Jordaan,” said Safa head of ethics Poobalan Govindasamy at a hastily arranged press conference on Thursday.

A statement on Safa’s website reads: “We are very concerned that a small band of Johannesburg-based journalists from Sunday Sun, City Press, Sowetan and SABC have been colluding with those who wish to destabilise Safa, openly granting them a platform to distribute their unsubstantiated allegations against the organisation and its leaders all around the country, and yet not asking for proof or verification of the claims being made against the association.”

Bizarrely, Safa decided to throw its weight behind rape-accused Jordaan.

“We have noted the claims made by Ms [Jennifer] Ferguson against Mr Jordaan and Safa’s national executive committee, and want to make it clear that everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”

An hour or so after Sports Minister Tokozile Xasa asked Safa to provide leadership on the allegations made against Jordaan, the association showed her the middle finger.

Xasa had previously sent a clear message to Safa, asking it not to ignore the claims.

“Rape is a serious offence in our country and we will always side with the victim.

“I expect Safa to provide leadership in this regard,” she said.

But expecting the association to give a different response is akin to believing its leaders would refuse to accept a honorarium.

Honestly, I did not expect less than what was said on Thursday. It is business as usual and nothing is going to sway Safa’s thinking.

According to the leaders of local football’s highest authority, the allegations are part of a smear campaign aimed at getting rid of Jordaan – that is why they have resolved to support him until the bitter end.

I expected Safa to act decisively. Instead, it missed a golden opportunity to take a firm stand against women abuse.

Like any rational person, I believe people are innocent until they are proven guilty in a court of law. However, these are serious allegations.

By refusing to step aside and let the law take its course, Jordaan has failed to provide good leadership.

Any good leader would have said: “Let me deal with this matter on my own as it is a private issue.”

Instead, he dragged the association into the matter, which was as good as saying: “We are in this together, comrades.”

Danny should have taken time off so he could attend to this matter independently. But, instead of asking him to step aside, Safa’s leaders carried on as though nothing had happened.

They tried too hard to paint a picture of how he had been good with women and afforded them the opportunity to be involved in football. But that is neither here nor there. No one doubts or questions what he has done and continues to do for women in football in this country, but there is this dark cloud hanging over his head.

We all know the scourge of abuse in this country has got out of hand. Instead of raising its voice against these everyday happenings, Safa now stands by the man accused of violent conduct.

This is a private matter in which Safa should not have got involved. Now that Jordaan has the opportunity to prove his innocence through a legal process, let him do so without Safa’s involvement.

In the eyes of Safa, everything that is going wrong at the association is because of the media.

Jordaan is accused of rape because the media has an agenda. Safa presidential nominee and former referee Ace Ncobo is challenging Safa on its statutes – and the media is to blame.

Why can’t it get its house in order and stop criticising us for doing our jobs?

Follow me on Twitter @TimspiritMolobi

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