SAFA threatens legal action

2013-02-24 19:55
SAFA (File)

Johannesburg - The SA Football Association (SAFA) has threatened to take legal action against two media publications after reports were published on a damning, anonymous document leaked to the South African press.

The document first surfaced in August last year, according to SAFA spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi.

Reports in Sunday newspapers alleged that the mysterious document had been handed to the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC), which in turn had passed it on to the Hawks for investigation. The Hawks had dismissed the document as it lacked substance.

"SAFA takes strong exception to these reports and we have contacted our lawyers," Dominic Chimhavi said on Sunday.

"This is an odd document. It is faceless, untested and libelous.

"If it was signed by somebody, we would take that person head on, but now certain media outlets are reporting on this document, and SAFA is instituting legal action against these publications."

The document alleged that Danny Jordaan, the head of the 2010 FIFA World Cup local organising committee (LOC), had bought 36 Mercedes Benz vehicles for members of SAFA's football transformation forum (FTF), 15 months after the World Cup board held its last meeting. Jordaan also allegedly paid himself a R5m severance package.

It was further alleged that SAFA officials were "sitting on" reports of corruption and maladministration in four regions, and the SAFA management committee was keeping quiet evidence of an executive member who corrupted referees in Welkom.

Chimhavi said the football association would not confirm or deny any of the allegations in the anonymous document.

"We cannot consider the merits and demerits of a document like this. It could have been found in a dustbin.

"Reporting on this is unethical. It is damaging to people's names and it's unethical."

Sello Rabothata, sports editor of Sunday World, said the publication stood by its report, which claimed the anonymous dossier showed there were cracks developing within the SAFA national executive committee ahead of the body's elections in September.

"We stand by our writers, and until something else comes to the fore, we will stand by our report, which is factually correct," Rabothata said.

Kgomotso Mokoena, deputy sports editor for Sunday Sun, said the publication also stood by its own report.

In a letter addressed to SAFA president Kirsten Nematandani on Wednesday, FIFA deputy secretary general Markus Kattner said the global football body had been contacted by members of the South African press concerning the financial governance processes of the LOC.

Kattner confirmed the global body was satisfied with the LOC's financial statements during each year of its operation. He said the overall results of the LOC were included in the FIFA financial report in 2010, and approved by the 61st FIFA Congress in 2011, but he did not refer to financial statements and audits since then.

"For the avoidance of doubt, FIFA has at no time been aware of anything other than full compliance with the governance structures of the LOC in respect of all LOC financial transactions," Kattner wrote.

He added that any concerns of governance processes should be addressed by SAFA, and only escalated to FIFA if they could not be resolved.

The reports of the leaked document were published the day after SAFA announced its intention to launch an independent commission of enquiry, after reversing an earlier decision in December, to investigate a FIFA report on match fixing.

Read more on:    safa  |  fifa  |  danny jordaan  |  soccer

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