‘One person, one vote’ would do SA soccer a lot of good

2018-06-10 06:08
S'Busiso Mseleku

Johannesburg - Two issues that recently dominated the local football narrative and created some fierce debate were the SA Football Association (Safa) elections and the National First Division (NFD) promotion/relegation play-offs.

Besides the nitty-gritties that form the real business of these two events, there were a number of sideshows.

The lead-up to the Safa polls was marred by mud-slinging, and deteriorated into a dirty and very personal battle.

The play-offs were affected by what has come to be known as Ndorogate, a fight by Ajax Cape Town to stop the play-offs from taking place via a court interdict.

Ajax were docked points by an arbitrator on the eve of the play-offs and this saw them swap places with Platinum Stars, who had finished 16th on the Absa Premiership log.

The ruling saw Ajax automatically relegated, and this set the cat loose among the pigeons.

Even with the play-offs being done and dusted, the relegation matter might still be with us for some time as Ajax have vowed to go all the way in fighting the decision.

However, that’s not the subject of this column.

As always, the play-offs season sparked the fierce debate about why the Premier Soccer League (PSL) doesn’t get rid of this tedious and unfair method of deciding who gets relegated from the Absa Premiership, and who gets promoted from the NFD.

However, looking at the national soccer league handbook that was adopted on November 15, 2016 and reading article 28 regarding voting powers at general meetings, I realised that there is no way in hell that NFD clubs, which are prejudiced by this system, can have it changed.

The article reads in part: “Member clubs of the premier division of the league at the time of the general meeting are entitled to 10 votes each, including the quadrennial general meeting when the election of the executive committee takes place.

“Member clubs of the [NFD] of the league at the time of the general meeting are entitled to two votes each, including the quadrennial general meeting when the election of the executive committee takes place.”

This means the 16 premier division – Absa Premiership – clubs have 160 votes in total, while their 16 NFD cousins have a mere 32.

It then becomes obvious that, as long as this remains in the handbook, NFD clubs will remain in the poor state they are in – with no freedom or improvement in sight.

This is unless there is a serious revolution in how the PSL is run.

It is the same thing with the Safa elections – the numbers are so loaded in favour of the 52 regions that it is nigh-on-impossible for the other members of the association to have an effective impact on decisions taken at annual general meetings and congresses.

Besides the 52 regions, Safa has the PSL, which is a special member.

Other associate members include the SA Coaches Association (Safca); the SA Deaf Football Association; the SA Indoor Football Association; the SA Masters and Legends Football Association; the Industrial Football Association of SA; the SA Intellectually Impaired Football Association; University Sport SA; the SA National Defence Force Football Association; the SA Police Service Football Association; and the SA Indoor Football Association.

When it comes to voting powers, the regions have four votes each, while the PSL has six – and each associate member has just one vote.

Why can’t Safa and the PSL adopt the universally accepted one person, one vote principle?

It is known to eliminate plurality voting, malapportionment and gerrymandering.

Fifa’s 207 member countries, regardless of their size, gross domestic product and population, have a single vote each.

Candidates such as Ephraim “Shakes” Mashaba, Phil “Chippa” Masinga and Buddha Mathathe, who were nominated by Safca, stood very little chance at the recent Safa elections.

It would be great to have a diverse Safa national executive committee that has a wide representation from different football structures.

Just a thought!

Follow me on Twitter @Sbu_Mseleku

Read more on:    nfd  |  safa  |  absa premiership  |  soccer


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