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Athletics | SA Track & Field

ASA needs a helping hand - Sam



Only a good samaritan with deep pockets can help Athletics SA (ASA) out of its financial woes, says SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) president Gideon Sam.

"What we need is a good samaritan to come in and once you've done that stronger provinces should be in place to run the sport," Sam said.

ASA was stuck between a rock and a hard place, as sponsorships, funds from the National Lottery and broadcasting rights could be used only for athletics projects and not for servicing outstanding debt.

New ASA administrator Zola Majavu painted a bleak picture of the federation's financial outlook this week.

Majavu took over the athletics body's head office last month after Sascoc suspended the entire ASA board for the second time in less than four years.

The embattled federation's financial woes came to light last year when suspended ASA president James Evans revealed it owed creditors approximately R4.3 million.

Evans said at the time that ASA was still reeling from financial problems it inherited from disgraced former president Leonard Chuene's administration.

Sam conceded that the athletics body was still affected by legacy issues left behind by the previous administration but he said it was now time to clean up the sport.

While the current situation did not directly impact the athletes, he said ASA ran the risk of being liquidated.

Meanwhile, in an open-letter to Sam, Evans queried why the Sascoc board members received set allowances, which he believed was in contravention of the Olympic Charter's bye-laws.

According to the International Olympic Committee's (IOC) constitution: "The members of an NOC (National Olympic Committee), except for professional sports administrators, shall not accept any compensation or bonus of any kind in consideration for their services or for the performance of their duties.

"They may be reimbursed for their traveling, accommodation and other justified expenses incurred in the carrying out of their functions."

Sam said these payments were discussed with the 82 member federations at council meetings and appeared in the annual financial statements.

He said it was common practice with big sporting bodies, such as the SA Rugby Union and other NOCs, for board members to be paid allowances.

Sam said Evans was welcome to approach the police, the public protector or the Hawks if he suspected fraud or any irregularities.

Evans did not feel the Sascoc president's reply to his first letter was sufficient and this week threatened to take the matter up with the IOC.

"Since you have not addressed the question asked of you in a satisfactory manner, I have no other option but to refer the matter to the IOC with a request that they investigate whether there has been a breach of the Olympic Charter," Evans wrote.

On Friday, Sam said he would assist Evans in approaching the IOC, but felt his plight diverted their attention from athletics matters.

"If he wants to go to the IOC I will help him, but he is distracting us from preparing teams for the World Championships," Sam said.

Evans also questioned the dual role played by Tubby reddy as president of Volleyball SA and CEO of Sascoc, which he believed was in breach of "Clause 10.29 of the (old) Articles of Association of Sascoc".

The clause states: "The President and Chief Executive Officer may not serve or hold office on the Board or controlling body of any Member."

Sam said this did not apply to Reddy, as Sascoc CEO, but it did apply to Sam, as president, and he had relinquished his role as head of Triathlon SA when he took office of the Olympic body in 2008.



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