ASA hits snag with IAAF

James Evans (Gallo Images)
James Evans (Gallo Images)

Johanneseburg - Athletics SA's interim board, set up by a breakaway faction led by Sello Mokoena in November, is not recognised by the IAAF, ASA president James Evans has said on Friday.

Evans, who was supposedly ousted by the interim board, said the IAAF (International Association of Athletics Federations) would not accept interim committees without prior consent.

"And this (recognition) is only in the case of prior discussion between ASA and IAAF," IAAF spokesman Nick Davies said in an e-mail to Evans.

In November, in the absence of Evans, an annual general meeting was held in Johannesburg where the existing ASA board was dissolved and a seven-member interim board, including Mokoena, was appointed.

Mokoena said there was a unanimous decision to sack the board, and that the AGM was held in accordance with the ASA and IAAF constitution.

However, according to clause four of the IAAF constitution, an interim board will only be recognised if prior approval is given.

"In the event of a conflict that brings the activities of a member to a standstill, an ad hoc committee may be set up, for a defined period, to be in charge of the management of athletics in the country... provided always that such an ad hoc committee has been approved by the IAAF in advance."

Mokoena said the IAAF was informed four weeks before the AGM that a motion of no confidence against the ASA board would be tabled.

He acknowledged that the IAAF had not actually consented to the formation of an ad hoc committee, but that recognition was not a burning issue as an AGM would be called in April when a new board would be elected.

"The motion and the council and the removal of the board was communicated to the IAAF.

"The IAAF has never said this was never communicated to them," Mokoena said on Friday.

"The issue of the interim committee and its recognition by the IAAF has now become water under the bridge.

"If the IAAF recognise the committee now or in March... this matter is irrelevant, a non-issue and a waste of time."

Nevertheless, it appears the interim board operated within breach of the IAAF constitution, which strengthened Evans’ argument that he was still at the helm of the federation.

"If you read the IAAF constitution, it is patently clear they cannot get approval. If he reads 4.2 it is impossible," Evans said.

"How many times do we have to say it that these guys don’t have any international recognition.

"No athlete that follows them can compete internationally."

Evans said an end to the stalemate would only be reached only when the legitimate board's 10 positions had all been filled.

As it stood, there were only three existing board members -- Evans, vice president Hendrick Ramaala and former sprinter Geraldine Pillay.

The other board members stepped down at a special general meeting in November.

Evans said only he, or Ramaala, could call an AGM, so Mokoena's notion of calling an AGM to ratify the interim board was invalid.

If the interim board continued to run the sport unrecognised, it would have dire consequences for athletes, Evans said.

National teams selected by Mokoena’s interim board would not be eligible for competitions falling under the auspices of the IAAF.

Meanwhile, a visit to South Africa by IAAF representative Cheikh Thiare, scheduled for January 24 and 25, has stalled owing to problems with his visa.

Earlier this month, the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee announced that Thiare and South Africa’s International Olympic Committee member Sam Ramsamy would look at finding a solution to the stalemate.

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