Tough times for Safa

2012-09-30 10:00
S’busiso Mseleku
Annual budget heavily cut.

The tough times faced by the SA Football Association (Safa) were made evident yesterday at its annual general meeting (AGM).

The football governing body was forced to make an annual budget cut in excess of R100 million.

At the meeting in Sandton, Safa chief executive Dr Robin Petersen presented a budget of R273 million, which was adopted, as compared to the R380 million the organisation splashed in the past financial year.

This expenditure saw Safa report a R56 million loss in the current financial year.

Petersen said there was room for an additional R60 million to be raised in innovative ways that will be presented to the business sector on November 16.

Safa suffered a knock recently when their main funders, SABMiller and Absa, which had bankrolled them with R100 million each per year, came in with a reduced R20 million each per year.

The organisation is also still sitting with buses and scanners that were used during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, assets they have failed to sell and make money from, and that have depreciated over the past two years.

Most proceedings in yesterday’s final AGM before the elective conference next year took place in the absence of vice-president Dr Irvin Khoza and the other Premier Soccer League (PSL) representatives Kaizer Motaung and Mato Madlala, who excused themselves after spending a few minutes in the meeting.

Petersen said Khoza and company had “apologised and asked to be excused as they had some urgent PSL business to
take care of”.

In some quarters, this might be read as a snub, as Khoza bolted out of the last elective conference in 2009 after a stalemate that saw him and Danny Jordaan eventually withdrawing their presidential candidatures.

The AGM was to discuss 19 points, which included amendments to the constitution as proposed by world football governing body Fifa as well as members.

However, Petersen said some of these issues were taking “too long and might have to be postponed to a future meeting”.

Petersen said he had presented the highlights and lowlights of the year in his activity report.

He had divided these into three categories: football, administration and finances.

His turnaround strategy, titled Technical Master Plan, has seven points that are aimed at “building a sustainable and effective organisation”.

Petersen said the possibility of staff losing jobs was still a reality in Safa’s bid to stabilise its finances.

Another challenge facing Safa is the hosting of the 2013 African Cup of Nations (Afcon) in January.

So far, the organisation has been funding the administration of the tournament’s organising structure, which is registered as a wholly owned Section 21 company.

While Safa vice-president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, who chairs the Afcon local organising committee (LOC); and the committee’s chief executive, Mvuzo Mbebe, attended the AGM, they were not accommodated on the agenda to give a status report.

The LOC issued a statement yesterday saying that close to 6 000 tickets had been sold in two days since ticket sales opened.

This comes after an outcry that followed the launch, where soccer fans said they found that several managers at Spar outlets did not even know what they were talking about when they enquired about tickets.

Others said they had been told they would be called back by call-centre attendants, promises that were not kept.

While many thought the tickets were available at every Spar outlet, the tickets were only available at 185 Super Spar outlets on September 26, the opening day.

The Afcon tournament kicks off on January 19.