Graeme Joffe

Sascoc not fit to run SA sport

2012-08-20 12:03
Sport24 columnist Graeme Joffe (File)
For months now I’ve been following this thing called SASCOC and just waiting for the bubble to burst, but it seems as if they’ve managed to politicise their efforts and sweep things under the carpet time after time.

I just feel for our incredible sportsmen and sportswomen in this country that have no voice and are being failed by weak, greedy administrators.

Where to begin ....

Six medals in London – SASCOC had predicted 12 and SASCOC president Gideon Sam said he would fall on his sword if they didn’t get 12. Now all of a sudden, Beijing is a benchmark, where we managed to get just one lonely medal. No Mr Sam, we should be using Atlanta, Sydney and Athens as benchmarks where we got a total of 16 medals. So, how far have we really progressed as an Olympic nation in the last 16 years?

To say SA finished top of the African medals table in London is very misleading. Kenya and Ethiopia both got more medals than SA in London and it’s only because the medals table puts gold above everything that we are “on top of Africa”. If a country gets one gold and another 16 silver, the country with one gold will be on top - so, that should conclude any arguments that in London, we were the best in Africa. Ironically, SASCOC didn’t regard Africa qualifying strong enough for some of our sporting codes, meaning they would have to qualify internationally eg: hockey, but now it’s okay to brag that we were the best in Africa.

There should be no argument.

With what SA has in the way of facilities, finance, sportsmen and sportswomen, we should be on another level to the rest of the African countries.

So, you have to ask - where is all the money going ?

You read about a R400 000 SASCOC bill for one dinner in London, but yet four gold medallists in rowing have to share a R400k bonus?
The Sports Minister continues to fool the public with his rhetoric and political motivational speeches. Mr Fikile Mbalula doesn’t miss a PR opportunity but knows as much about sport as his “comrade Olympian” Julius Malema knows about good governance. I was embarrassed to hear his speech on the Olympians return last week. He created two new Olympians in “Cameroon” van der Burgh and Michael “Flaps” and shouted at corporate SA to get behind our athletes to get them to drive Porsche’s etc. Mr Mbalula sir, let me tell you corporate SA would get behind all our athletes if they knew where the money was going once in the palms of the SASCOC dirty hands.

Why did things go so quiet about the Chinese Olympic manufacturer uproar? Was corporate SA given a chance to kit out our own Olympians? Mr Sam told me on SportsFire that                 R30 million from the Chinese manufacturers would come into SASCOC coffers for Olympic sports. SASCOC reportedly spent only R33 million on our athletes for the Olympic and Paralympics in London.

Where is the rest of the money from government, lotto, sponsors etc?

Mr Sam was at odds to answer a lot of other questions on that same show relating to the PR tender worth at least R12 million that never happened and a horse racing sponsorship that SASCOC has, which he says “costs them nothing”.

To have a sponsorship “SASCOC triple crown” costs nothing? No wonder Phumelela would not comment on the matter.

What is SASCOC doing in horse racing anyway?

I will give Mr Sam some credit in that he has always been available for interviews, unlike SASCOC CEO Tubby Reddy who refuses radio interviews at every opportunity. Wonder what there is to hide?

Hard to hide a gravy train.

Speaking of which, I wonder exactly how many went business class to London and spent two and half weeks in a top class hotel? Money that should have been spent on our athletes and not some SASCOC officials, who believe it’s their right to be at the Games. I’ve seen it with my own eyes in Atlanta and Sydney. The SASCOC gravy train sitting in the “SA Olympic house” in those countries with meals and plenty of alcohol to quench their thirsts.

Let us not forget the SASCOC five-man delegation that “had” to go to Austria to accompany the country's lone participant in the Winter Youth Olympics at the beginning of this year.

These are just the trips we know about. Mr Reddy must have more frequent flyer miles than Sir Richard Branson.

So, now we know why there’s little money for training camps, why only one weightlifter can go to the Games, why only one equestrian rider can to the Games. SASCOC's budget is tight when it comes to the athletes that produce medals.

Hence, 12 medals from London was always going to be a big ask, but I can assure you some officials have put on 12kg after a great two week holiday!

Apart from the Chinese kit deal, PR non-tender, horse racing sponsorship, the gravy train, it was interesting to note many SA sporting codes were suspended by SASCOC over the last year for poor governance and power struggles.

At least four that I know of: Squash, Equestrian, Powerboating and Karate. There are a number of interesting links here, especially the one between Mr Sam and Powerboating which was well documented: Mr Sam allegedly trying to score commission on National Lottery money granted to Powerboat SA.

What isn’t well documented is the findings of the forensic audit that was supposedly carried out.

Other allegations that a marketing company in which Mr Sam is a shareholder would be paid close to R1 million in commission for facilitating a Lotto grant for Cycling SA. How easy when Mr Sam sits on the Lotto distribution board as well but said he excused himself when the cycling request was tabled.
Conflict of interests, perhaps?

I could go on and on but the fact of the matter is that our athletes continue to achieve despite the poor cards they are dealt. Can you imagine what we would be achieving if we had administrators who were passionate about the sport itself instead of lining their own back pockets.

We should be calling for a full independent forensic audit of SASCOC. 

So, should these fat cats be running amateur sport in SA?

You be the judge.

Catch Graeme Joffe on SportsFire every Monday and Thursday at 17:30 on Radio Today, 1485am in JHB, National on DStv audio channel 169 and streaming worldwide on Follow Graeme Joffe on Twitter: @joffersmyboy

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