Johannesburg - The suspension of Athletics SA's (ASA) board will not prevent South African athletes from competing in the 2013 World Championships in Moscow in August.
"The athletes cannot be hamstrung because of this situation," SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) CEO Tubby Reddy said in Johannesburg on Thursday.
"There has been no indication that our athletes would not go to the world championships. We’ve done special applications to the Lotto and we’re doing everything we can to make sure we have the resources to send them," he said.
"We would still seek every avenue for our athletes to participate."
ASA was placed under administration in April. Its president James Evans and the ASA board were suspended for "serious financial irregularities and autocratic leadership within the organisation".
Zola Majavu was appointed as interim ASA administrator. Sascoc gave him 120 days to help the embattled federation clear its mounting debt.
However, in a letter Reddy received on Tuesday, the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) said it did not recognise Majavu and would continue to recognise the ASA board.
Reddy said Sascoc had a statutory duty to step in and ensure stability was restored within ASA, to enable it to carry out its functions and meet athletes' needs.
If an agreement with the IAAF could not be reached, Reddy said Sascoc would take the matter to a higher governing body.
"We’re the country’s Olympic committee and we follow the Olympic charter, so if we don’t see eye to eye with IAAF, we will go to the International Olympic Committee.
"The IAAF are also governed by the IOC [International Olympic Committee], so first we will go jointly to the IOC ethics commission and, if need be, we will then take the matter to CAS [Court of Arbitration for Sport]."
Reddy would meet the president and executive director of the IAAF in Lausanne, Switzerland, next week, at a gathering of the world's Olympic committees.
He was confident an agreement would be reached once the IAAF had heard evidence of the financial problems Majavu had helped resolve.
"It will be fine. We will sit at the table and they will get both sides of the picture," Reddy said.
"We didn’t fabricate all these outstanding payments, so you have to ask: 'What was Evans doing?'"
Reddy listed some of ASA’s outstanding debts, which had now been cleared, including money owed to ASA employees, the City of Johannesburg, the receiver of revenue, the workmen’s compensation commissioner, the pension fund, staff bonuses, and prize money for three marathons.
"At the end of the letter, the IAAF say they would like to come and engage with us and, if they feel they are not making any headway, they would put in place an ad hoc administration to run ASA," Reddy said.
"That is very strange, because it must be an elected board and, over and above that, ASA must be a member of Sascoc.
"So, if we disagree with what they’re doing there, we would not take them as a member, but ASA have to get recognition from Sascoc to be an affiliate internationally.
"The IAAF governs athletics, and we respect that, but we’re not an athletics body and we don’t report to them."