Johannesburg - The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) will send a delegation to South Africa to meet with the country's athletics and Olympic bodies, and consider taking administrative control of the sport.
In a letter to SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) CEO Tubby Reddy received on Tuesday, the IAAF said the global body did not recognise Athletics SA administrator Zola Majavu and would continue to recognise the ASA board.
"The IAAF will shortly be making a visit to South Africa to assess the situation closer at hand and, at this time, it will meet with ASA representatives as well as with Sascoc," Cheikh Thiare, director of the executive office of the IAAF president, told Reddy.
"Should the IAAF take the view following that visit that conflict has brought the activities of ASA to a standstill, it will approve an ad hoc committee to be set up for a defined period of time to take charge of management of the sport and/or preparation of a general assembly to be conducted in accordance with ASA's constitution."
A report would be made to the IAAF council, together with recommendations for further action.
Sascoc suspended ASA president James Evans and the entire ASA board in April for infringing provisions of the Olympic body's constitution.
Majavu was appointed as interim ASA administrator, with Sascoc giving him 120 days to help the embattled federation clear its mounting debt.
"It is a fundamental principle of the IAAF's governance of the sport of athletics that its national governing bodies are run - and are allowed to be run - as democratically elected institutions, in accordance with their statutes, free from any influence or interference," Thiare said.
"Membership of the IAAF and the right to participate in international competitions is conditional upon such principle being upheld without derogation or compromise in any measure."
Thiare said the IAAF recognised that ASA was undergoing serious financial difficulties, largely inherited from the former administration, and that these needed to be addressed.
"What the IAAF will not tolerate, however, is Sascoc's attempt to take over the running of the sport and, in doing so, ignore the democratic structures and processes that are already in place within the ASA constitution."
In a statement released by Sascoc last week, on behalf of ASA, the Olympic body said Majavu had met with 15 of the ASA provincial presidents.
"The presidents... undertook to support ASA, Sascoc, and the administrator in all possible ways on the road forward," Sascoc said.
Evans, involved in a long-running public spat with ASA vice-president Hendrick Ramaala, had filed papers in the Wynberg Magistrate's Court, Cape Town, three days earlier, in an attempt to overturn Sascoc's decision to suspend the board.
In a letter to Reddy last month, Thiare said Sascoc had failed to inform the international athletics body that the ASA board members had been suspended, and called on Sascoc for an explanation.
Reddy, however, said Evans remained suspended and was not allowed to represent himself as ASA president, as he was "misrepresenting himself and the country", and the IAAF was "fully aware that he and his board members are suspended in terms of leading ASA".
In his 11-page response to Thiare, Reddy said Evans was "adamant to serve people who do not want him to serve in that capacity [ASA president] any longer".