SAFA to investigate 'leaks'

2010-03-30 18:10

Johannesburg - The South African Football Association have distanced themselves from Sunday newspaper reports that 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee chairman and SAFA vice president Irvin Khoza was plotting a coup to overthrow the body’s leadership.

SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani said Tuesday his association was concerned about the two reports (in the Sunday Times and City Press) and said SAFA would investigate them.

SAFA have warned their members from speaking to the media without permission.

But when pushed that a member of his board had planted the story in both newspapers Nematandani stated: “I do not believe any member of SAFA would stoop that low. I am as keen as you to get to the truth. But this story was not planted by SAFA.”

But the SAFA boss added: “If we find it was any member of SAFA who broke our rules and planted this story he will be kicked out of SAFA.”

Earlier, Khoza strongly attacked the articles and stated his commitment to SAFA and to South Africa staging a successful World Cup, which kicks off in June.

The “soccer war” broke out last September when Nematandani was elected as SAFA president in place of Khoza at the annual general meeting.

Khoza was upset and stated that he reserved the right to challenge the elections after the World Cup finals. But Khoza stressed he would not to anything that would harm the successful running of the first World Cup finals on home soil. Hence holding his challenge to SAFA until after the World Cup final at Soccer City on July 11.

When asked if he expected the uneasy truce now established on Tuesday to end after the World Cup finals on July 11, Nematandani said he was not afraid of a challenge by Khoza.

The Sunday newspapers alleged that Khoza had tried to destabalise the SAFA regions. Khoza strongly denied this.

But Nematandani said: “We do not know who but there were moves to oust current leaders of certain SAFA regions. We accept a challenge but not the way this is being done. But we need to collect more information on this matter and charge the person or persons resonsible. Most importantly we need to protect the integrity of the World Cup.”

In a statement Nematandani said: “ Both SAFA and the 2010 LOC leadership gave an unequivocal undertaking to FIFA president Sepp Blatter in Zurich and later to President Jacob Zuma of the successful delivery of the World Cup.

“Safa also agreed not to make any changes to the governance structure of the 2010 LOC. It is our firm belief that there are no disagreements (with Khoza) regarding the delivery of the 2010 and acknowledge and appreciate Dr Khoza’s statement this morning indicating that these are merely perceived differences.”

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