Mark Gleeson

SAFA cut national executive - to be applauded

2015-04-07 10:41
Mark Gleeson (Gallo Images)

It went largely unreported last week, but a ‘constitutional congress’ held by the South African Football Association in Nelspruit, on the fringes of the Bafana match against Nigeria, made some significantly positive changes.

The best one was the turkeys voting for Christmas, agreeing to cut the size of the organisation’s national executive committee from 42 to 20.

It is unprecedented that perk-loving officials vote to end their own party and is a decision that must be applauded, even if the honest truth is that it was forced upon them by FIFA who had given SAFA a deadline of next year to reduce the size of its bloated executive, and by extension reduce the waste of money on unnecessary travel and allowances for these fat cats.

Most leading football countries operate with executives no larger than 10, but for FIFA 18 is an OK number.

South Africa used to have a small executive but as political greed took precedence over sporting priorities so the committee was expanded to allow friends and allies to sup at the trough in exchange for votes.

In order to get Danny Jordaan a vice-presidency before the 2010 World Cup, the committee ballooned to 42 members!

Since, on several occasions these so-called servants of football fly to meeting, paid a daily allowance and treated like kings in return for giving of their time and expertise to the service of football. Sadly few of them ever contributed a single word in meetings, according to colleagues, never mind a bright idea.

All the while the travel and entertainment bill at SAFA increased to the detriment of worthy expenses, like training camps for teams, coaching courses and the much-stalled move to professionalise referees, which SAFA should have started a long time ago but balk against because they claim they have no money.

Now a streamlined organisation can cut down on the fringe benefits and put its money to proper use. Or so we hope.

The weekend meeting also made rules easier for SAFA to conduct its business and increase its revenue. The Bafana brand used to be arguably the biggest in the country but its potential has been squandered over the decades, first because SAFA were slow off the mark to protect the trademark and since because they have allowed it be devalued with meaningless matches.

More prudence management of the national team’s obligations could again lead to big crowds for Bafana matches and a sense of anticipation and excitement at watching the national team in action. Currently few could be bothered.

Mark Gleeson is a world-renowned soccer commentator and Editorial Director of Mzanzi Football.

Disclaimer: Sport24 encourages freedom of speech and the expression of diverse views. The views of columnists published on Sport24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Sport24.

Read more on:    safa  |  mark gleeson  |  soccer

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