South African sporting federations who do not comply with transformation targets will have their funding and endorsement of the Department of Sports and Recreations suspended, Minister Fikile Mbalula says. Mbalula made the announcement on Saturday in Johannesburg as the keynote speaker on a day that the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committe (SASCOC) reiterated its expectation for Team South Africa to bag 10 medals at this year’s Rio Olympics. Mbalula confirmed that his department has committed additional funding to SASCOC over and above the SASCOC fiscal transfer as part of the focused support to all the medal contenders.
Mbalula will announce outcomes of the Eminent Persons Group on sport transformation monitoring and evaluation report for 2015 on 28April 2016. He says: ‘When I announce the report in two weeks time we will apply the following punitive measures to those who do not comply. I will suspend or withdraw Government’s funding to the said federation due to non-compliance. I will withdraw Government’s recognition of the particular federation as a National Federation and where after I will publish such a decision in the Government Gazette. In essence, I will revoke the privilege of a federation to host and bid for major and mega international tournaments in the Republic and withdraw recognition of the said federation. I will withdraw the federation’s opportunity to be awarded national colours via SASCOC to players who participate under the auspices of that particular federation in order to represent the Republic internationally and nationally. I will terminate the relationship and any co-operation between SRSA and the said federation due to non-compliance. Finally I will withdraw political support and endorsements for sponsorships.’
The Minister says: ‘Specific needs for coaches of medal contenders will be identified as the focus in the preparations is narrowed. Extra technical sport support in terms of strategic approach and financial support to the coaches will then be provided in order to increase the possibilities and opportunities to realise and secure medals for our athletes. As we intensify the preparations, we must ensure that the athletes are physically and mentally prepared for the titanic battles that lie ahead. As Government, we will do everything in our power to ensure that our athletes fly the South African flag high and collect medals that will put smiles on the faces of this sport –loving nation.’ SASCOC president Gideon Sam informed the delegates of SASCOC’s main mandate which is high performance – OPEX and coaching, saying: ‘Our role is to assist National Federations to deliver the team to events. We have a High Performance advisory committee chaired by CEO Tubby Reddy to assist that these mandates are achieved, in terms of our athletes’ monitoring. With the athletes we identified coming out of the NFs’ stables, we are assisting and walking with them through the journey. Others have fallen away due to various issues such as not making it in terms of world rankings, resigning etc. We need to take care of athletes when they are injured or to ensure that they don’t take prohibited substances. These athletes are like professionals and they move all over the world but we don’t know what they are doing so we need to find a mechanism that we make sure that we know what they are doing and that they are clean athletes. Opex is on track and after our first team announcement in May, we will start with preparations for the second global training camp for the Olympic and Paralympic teams. These global camps allow athletes from diff sports codes to know each other and feel that they are part of the team.’
Sam also discussed financial challenges, saying: ‘We have to think out of the box as National Federations of how are we going to make money. Let us tap into the opportunity of how we can use our data to attract sponsorship.’
Photo credit: WESSEL OOSTHUIZEN / SASPA