South African Athletes fall over ASA’s big financial hurdle

Image from: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/31072010/2/photo/31072010163126.html
Image from: http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/31072010/2/photo/31072010163126.html

South African athletes, who are hoping to represent their country at the 14th IAAF World Championships in Moscow this August, face a huge financial hurdle, as Athletics South Africa (ASA) is unable to provide finances for competitions leading to the championships.

ASA are in desperate need of serious funding, as the federation has completely run out of money. The Athletics South Africa house in Houghton, Johannesburg, were forced to cut down their staff of 25 members to nine. Reports say that the nine members have not received their salaries in the past 2 months.

The acting president of ASA, Hendrick Ramaala, has stated that the organisation used to set a budget of between 27 and 35 million rand annually, but due to their current financial woes they do not have anything and are in fact indebted by 4.3 million rand.

Hendrick Ramaala acting president of ASA. Image from: http://www.sundayworld.co.za/sport/2012/06/11/protest-at-the-athletics-south-africa-agm
Hendrick Ramaala acting president of ASA. Image from: http://www.sundayworld.co.za/sport/2012/06/11/protest-at-the-athletics-south-africa-agm

Where does this leave the athletes? Arnaud Malherbe, a former South African athlete, said that fortunately athletics is an individual sport and that there is still a lot occuring in terms of competition. There are many meets in Europe and some permit meetings in South Africa that could support the current situation, as these events are organised privately by provinces and clubs, which are not dependent on the ASA head office.

However, ASA has to take responsibility for the national track and field championships, for it is a requirement for those who want to participate in the World Championships later this year. Due to the finances of the federation and no sponsorship, this could prove to be an enormous obstacle. James Evans, who was impeached as president of ASA claims that athletes should not be alarmed.

However, ASA is responsible for the national track and field championships, a pre-requisite for those with World Championship ambitions. With the money woes and no sponsors this could become difficult. James Evans, who was impeached as president of ASA in the past week, says that athletes should not be troubled.

Evans said in an interview, “Fortunately the IAAF uses a different model for the world champs. The organisers will cover travel and accommodation, so the senior team is not a problem, for the preparations funding is tight but we will make sure the team is adequately prepared.”

Currently, ASA needs approximately 60 million rand in order to become a viable organisation again.

In recent years it has experienced major disruptions within the federation other than financial issues, which includes the impeachment of Evans. Unfortunately, it is the athletes that have to take the fall.

References: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIU_6ns58U4 http://www.sabc.co.za/news/a/78c6f0004ee06639a650b73a187502c4/ASA-finances-in-shambles,-athletes-face-bleak-future-20130313

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