PRETORIA: Further embarrassment has been heaped upon South Africa’s embattled football officials after revelations about the distribution of profits from the last World Cup.
South Africa is currently hosting the African Nations Cup under the shadow of a matchfixing scandal, before the 2010 finals. This led to the temporary suspension of five senior SAFA directors, including president Kirsten Nematandani.
The overall slice of World Cup profits amounted to £49m and it has emerged – among information released about the initial disbursement of £4m and to some consternation – that just over one third of that (£17.5m) had been spent on vehicles for the association.
These vehicles included a fleet of luxury Mercedes-Benz cars for SAFA executive committee members.
The World Cup, every four years, is FIFA’s only significant source of income and profits are spread among World Cup participants, propping up the various youth and women’s tournaments and a plethora of worldwide development projects.
During the finals, however, domestic delight over the staging of the World Cup in Africa for the first time became tainted by angry complaints that FIFA was benefiting far more financially than the host country.
Initial cheers for Blatter turned into jeers as the tournament went on and ahead of the announcement of a World Cup Legacy Trust by Blatter and state President Jacob Zuma in December 2010.
Chair of the Trust is Danny Jordaan who was South Africa’s bid leader and then chief executive of the organising committee.
He confirmed that, immediately after the finals, R250m (£17.5m) had been invested in transport to enable officials to travel throughout a country which depends heavily on air and road links rather than railways.
The vehicles included buses, minivans but also the SAFA cars which attracted the wrong sort of attention.
Jordaan defended the expenditure strategy, insisting that development was impossible without mobility bearing in mind that a massive 4,347 applications had been submitted for the funding of various football-related projects.
The board had focused on financial support for an initial 973 projects. These included establishing under-13 and 15 boys’ and girls’ leagues in the regions, women’s football, indoor football and beach soccer, the support of administration, coaches and referees and bursaries for organisations which use football for development and education projects.
Jordaan added: “Since we launched the application process on 1 June 2012, we have been overwhelmed by the response from fellow South Africans. We are delighted with how this process has unfolded. It was extremely difficult for us to choose nearly 1,000 applications from the 4,347 we received.”
Asked about the transport investment he said: “Arguments that we must not give buses to regions are out of order, we worked hard to generate the profits in the first place. How do you expect officials to get around their regions and see their constituents if they don’t have transport?”
The trust selects a number of projects annually in response to applications submitted via the official website www.2010legacytrust.com. The next application phase opens in July.
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