Demonising Justin Gatlin
13th September 2015
The South African Football Association (SAFA) has insisted that its Presidential Elections will go ahead as planned on 24 March, despite the Confederation of Southern Africa Football Associations (COSAFA) stating that they would be postponed for six months. ‘The elections will go ahead as agreed by the SAFA Congress on Saturday 24 March 2018 and no other member, outside or within football, can decide otherwise’, read a SAFA statement. ‘The SAFA NEC (National Electoral Committee) met on Thursday afternoon to put together an Electoral Committee as prescribed by the SAFA Constitution and that Committee will monitor and oversee Saturday’s elections’.
However, SAFA’s Electoral Code does appear to require an Electoral Committee to be appointed six months before a Presidential Election can take place. As reported by The Sports Integrity Initiative last week, Ace Ncobo, former referee and General Manager of South Africa’s Premier Soccer League (PSL), had put himself forward as a candidate in protest against this apparent violation of SAFA’s Electoral Code and Statutes.
‘The ordinary general assembly at which the Committee is elected shall take place at least six months before the elective general assembly at which the executive body is elected’, reads a cached version of Article 4(c) of the SAFA Electoral Code, which has been removed from the SAFA internet site. ‘Election by the general assembly makes it possible to ensure greater transparency and impartiality and to avoid the possibility of a body of SAFA appointing or nominating the Electoral Committee because it is possible that the members of the body may later stand as candidates for elected posts’.
The SAFA Electoral Code is a mirror of Article 4(c) of the FIFA Electoral Code. If COSAFA is correct and the Presidential Elections have to be postponed until six months after an Electoral Committee was appointed, then the earliest they could take place would be 15 August, six months after SAFA appointed its Electoral Committee on Thursday. As well as removing its Electoral Code from its internet site, SAFA has threatened legal action against the country’s Independent Electoral Committee (IEC) for refusing to oversee the 24 March election.
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