South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) chief executive Tubby Reddy has revealed they plan to meet with the four Federations banned from hosting or bidding for major events for a year by the country’s Sports Minister in a bid to rectify their attitude towards black players.
Fikile Mbalula made the shock announcement yesterday that Cricket South Africa (CSA), Athletics South Africa (ASA), Netball South Africa (NSA) and the South Africa Rugby Union (SARU) were prohibited from bidding or staging sporting competitions for failing to offer enough opportunities to black players.
His decision threw South Africa’s candidacy for the 2023 Rugby World Cup in doubt after the sport’s governing body had confirmed last June that the country had expressed an interest in hosting the tournament.
The ban will not affect the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Durban.
Mbalula’s choice to suspend the four Federations from bidding comes after they agreed on various transformation targets with the Government back in 2014, aimed at increasing the amount of black people playing sport, which they then failed to meet, according to the Sports Minister.
Reddy has reaffirmed SASCOC’s commitment to helping the affected organisations establish clear transformation criteria and will ask all four to prepare themselves for signing a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Sport and Recreation South Africa.
The Sports Minister’s 3rd Eminent Persons Group report on transformation stressed that the Federations must appoint a Committee to deal with the issue if they are to be allowed to bid for major sporting events again.
Mbalula claimed he will reassess his decision in 2017 but threatened further sanctions upon the bodies if they continue to fail to make the necessary changes to get more black people involved in their sports.
“We at SASCOC believe that the transformation agenda, as reiterated by Minister Mbalula, is the cornerstone for sports development in our country,” said Reddy, who is also the chief executive of Durban 2022.
“All Federations need to understand that this transformative imperative must be at forefront of their plans and programmes in order to equalise the playing fields.”
The news sent shockwaves through South African sport and prompted both the CSA and SARU to demand closed-door meetings with Mbalula.
It came as a particular surprise move given rugby and cricket are two of the country’s main sports.
“To this end, the transformation targets have an impact on every aspect of a federations business plan requirements, including sponsorship, Lotto funding application, human resources, procurement, gender representation and participation in international events,” added SASCOC President Gideon Sam.
Notable sporting events held by South Africa in recent years include the 2010 FIFA World Cup and the 2003 Cricket World Cup.