Mumble: SAFA to cut costs

2013-05-03 17:15
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Johannesburg - The SA Football Association (Safa) is short on resources and will need to increase revenue streams and tighten belts, according to the body's CEO, Dennis Mumble.

While Mumble reiterated that the organisation was not bankrupt or insolvent, after media reports suggested Safa was broke, he said on Friday the football body needed to find ways to ensure sustainability and growth.

"We need to diversify our revenue base. Probably 80-90 percent of our current revenue base is from sponsorships, which is not an ideal position for us to be in," Mumble said.

While Safa was pleased to have sponsors, it needed to diversify its property portfolio.

"We need to build stronger brands around each of our nine national teams, each of which has a value," he said.

"We have other intellectual properties, like trademarks, and we need to begin to trade by establishing a merchandise and licensing programme."

While the football body was staying afloat, Mumble said it was not fully able to service football communities throughout the country.

Its 52 member regions included 311 local football associations, with some provinces hosting well over 4000 football matches every weekend.

In the last two years, Mumble said Safa had spent millions of rands on various qualifying competitions, across age group levels, including Bafana Bafana's 2014 World Cup campaign and Banayana Banyana's Olympic Games build-up.

The federation also ran four national leagues, including the lower division domestic senior structures, which did not receive much exposure, and did not attract many sponsors.

Safa, R92 million in the red 10 months ago, lost money on maintenance and insurance costs, as well as depreciation, after struggling to sell scanning equipment and 35 buses received from Fifa after hosting the 2010 World Cup.

It had since managed to sell 22 of the buses, bringing R17 million back into their coffers.

It had also sold 40 percent of Safa shares in Netcare, and was preparing to sell another 20 percent, along with property it owned in Hyde Park.

In a cost-cutting exercise, Safa outsourced its finance department, which was now being run at half the expense (R3.5 million a year).

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani insisted officials were not wasteful with funds, and he hoped stricter control measures would save the organisation R21 million in this financial year.

"When we have to fly, we fly economy class, and when possible we'll hold teleconferences so we don't need to travel overseas," Nematandani said.

"We also use the vehicles given to our provincial members, so we don't need to use rental cars when we travel around South Africa."

The federation's plans for growth included the expansion of broadcast rights, which had previously been restricted to the SABC, and the possible reclaiming of the rights to the FNB Stadium at Nasrec, where Safa is based.

"Government must create an environment for us to succeed," Mumble said.

"That is why we asked them to allow us to approach other broadcasters and to give us back our stadium."

Apart from the buses donated by Fifa, and R450 million which had been ring-fenced for development and placed in the Fifa Legacy Trust Fund, Mumble felt Safa had not received as much as they could have in return for bringing the World Cup to South Africa. The bids alone had cost R330 million, with no assistance from government.

"SA Rugby and Cricket SA benefited from the World Cups they hosted (in 1995 and 2003), but we have not benefited to the extent we invested."

With plans in place to ensure growth of the football body, Mumble said increased revenue was crucial.

"We should not be on par with other sports organisations, we should be ahead on numbers," he said.

"This is not a small association. It's the biggest organisation in the country, apart from the ANC during election time, due to the number of members we have.

"We need to develop a good business model, diversify our assets and run our business in a more savvy way."

Read more on:    safa  |  dennis mumble  |  soccer

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