Monday, October 1, 2007

SA Sports Admin is the Place to be!

It is no secret that sports admin in South Africa can only be described as a monumental fuck up. The elected officials in charge of sprort are pilfering money 'willy nilly' and our sport is suffering as a result. This article was sent to me via email.

CAPE TOWN — Finance Minister Trevor Manuel has softened his stinging criticism of banking group Absa, which he accused at the weekend of paying up to R50m to professional soccer bosses to secure the bank the sponsorship rights to the Premier Soccer League (PSL).

Manuel wrote to CEO Steve Booysen, saying he was “completely shocked” by Absa’s announcement that it would pay “R50m into the private bank accounts of the administrators who awarded the contract”.

He continued: “Making such a payment is wrong, morally reprehensible and corrupt” — and reminded the bank that “corruption is a criminal offence”.

Manuel noted that corruption was a crime for both the giver and receiver. He reminded Booysen that as a business leader he had a responsibility to strengthen the moral fibre of SA.

In an immediate written reply, Booysen denied Absa had anything to do with the payments, which were an internal PSL matter. He said he supported the minister’s views on corporate governance and agreed sports administrators should not be enriched by sponsorships.

Yesterday, however, following the bank’s denials, treasury spokeswoman Thoraya Pandy said Manuel should not have been understood to mean that he thought the bank was paying the bonus amounts directly into the accounts of professional soccer’s administrators.

Instead, said Pand y, Manuel was attacking Absa for allegedly “having turned a blind eye” to the PSL’s internal bonus arrangements on the deal.

Pandy said it was the minister’s opinion that the bonus money would be better spent on community sporting projects.

Manuel repeated his concern at the huge bonuses that sports administrators get paid for negotiating sponsorship deals and called on sponsors of sporting events to use their financial muscle to make sure that this does not happen.

The R50m in question is 10% of the R500m Absa sponsorship of the PSL. It follows the R30m commission paid to each member of the PSL’s sponsorship committee, which recently negotiated a R1,6bn broadcast deal with SuperSport.

Manuel said the duty of sports administrators was to comply with corporate governance, implement the sporting code and not enrich themselves.

The PSL, some of whose officials are reported to be in support of Manuel’s comment, said in reply to Manuel that there was “a stratagem to destabilise the executive committee”, while Absa said in its denial: “Absa has signed a heads of agreement with the PSL which makes no mention of ‘payment into administrators’ bank accounts’.”

Let us hope that the likes of Charles Roff, Manager of Villagers Rugby Club does not conduct himself in this manner and that he runs a bribe free office. He was a notable absence from the rocking the daisies festival this weekend.

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