Nematandani blames media

PARLIAMENT - South African Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani blames the media for having a hidden agenda.

Nematandani was briefing parliament’s sport committee today when he said Safa is not in crisis despite continued media reports about the football association being in a dire state.

Media reports over the weekend alleged that Safa is in crisis due to mismanagement and reckless spending.

But Safa’s top brass said the media is being used in a political campaign meant to influence the upcoming election of a new executive.

“There is no crisis in this organisation of yours. One thing I’ve learnt about us as a country, we stop thinking about reading newspapers. Of course they have their own mission to sell newspapers,” said Nemantandani.

Safa has been criticised for spending R20-million of the World Cup Legacy Trust Fund on 26 cars from its sponsor Mercedes-Benz.

The fund is meant to be ring-fenced for development purposes only.

But Safa said the luxury cars qualify as development because members of the national executive committee need to travel across provinces to promote youth sports.

“Now why did we buy Mercedes Benz?” asked Safa vice president Danny Jordaan.

“Not because we think we are better. If Coca-Cola is your sponsor you are not going to buy Pepsi-Cola! It does not make sense”.

The cars were purchased two years ago.

Jordaan said it has only become a media scandal now because the Safa executive is holding its elections in three months’ time.

Safa was R56 million in the red last year and if it was not for its cash reserves of over R90million it would be bankrupt.

Nematandani said the economic climate is to be blamed for the losses.

He also conceded that profits from the 2010 soccer world cup are drying up and sponsors are pulling out.

- eNCA

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