A much-publicised spat between former top referee Ace Ncobo, the South African Football Association (SAFA) and its president Danny Jordaan has again brought the morality of the organisation into question, DEAN WORKMAN explores.
The whole debacle has turned into a ‘he said she said’ scenario which has resulted in Fifa stepping in to try and resolve matters.
Last week, Ncobo, who was nominated to oppose Jordaan in the SAFA presidential elections, released a scathing statement in which he called on the upcoming elections to be investigated after ‘several constitutional imperatives were grossly violated’ in the preparations.
The world football governing body then on Wednesday called upon COSAFA and Zimbabwe Football Association president Phillip Chiyangwa to meet with both Ncobo and Jordaan to resolve the enmity.
Then at a Fifa press conference on Thursday, Chiyangwa confirmed that an official agreement had been reached and signed by both Ncobo and Jordaan in the early hours of the morning. Ncobo then announced that he will no longer stand for the presidency.
‘What I want to share with you is that there is an agreement, which I can’t share with the media, signed by both parties,’ Chiyangwa told members of the media.
‘That agreement basically does in itself bring closure to the dispute around the March 24 elections. One, there will be an electoral committee that will be appointed or elected before any election takes place, and SAFA NEC is attending to that and has agreed. And then, Ace Ncobo will not be standing for the SAFA presidency – those are the two things I just simply wanted to tell you.’
However Chiyangwa could not give a straight answer when asked if the elections will go ahead as scheduled, ‘As far as I’m concerned, from the document we have, it has set parameters on which course elections should take place. Because, if you ask me, “Are elections going ahead?” There’s no electoral committee, are you with me? No elections can take place without an electoral committee, and that is the business of the NEC of SAFA. I don’t want to answer for SAFA, that you will get from them. As far as I’m concerned, I was resolving a dispute and what was contentious about it all.’
SAFA, however, insist that the elections will go ahead as scheduled. The governing body said that an electoral committee was set to be appointed on Thursday, despite the SAFA Electoral Code stating that this must take place ‘at least six months before the elective general assembly at which the executive body is elected.’
‘SAFA is meeting today to finalise the process of putting together the Electoral Committee to run the 24 March 2018 elections,’ SAFA spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi added during his press conference.
Then in an interview on SAFM on Thursday evening, Ncobo called on SAFA to ‘restart the entire process.’
The former referee said: ‘[The process] will begin with step number one which is to select an electoral committee which must be elected at a general assembly six months before the presidential election. So that it can handle all the steps relating to the electoral process. Inclusive of nominations.’
Ncobo then insisted that Jordaan should not be allowed run unopposed after his withdrawal from the race, because ‘there is no nominee. There is no candidate, because the process has been nullified by the very same Danny Jordaan by violating the statues.’
Ncobo then proceeded to call on Jordaan to step down, ‘Danny Jordaan must resign as president. I now have proof in writing, with your [Jordaan] signature on it that you have violated the SAFA constitution. So, it’s no longer a matter of allegation or speculation, it’s on official record.’
When asked during the interview if he thought SAFA would do the right thing and postpone the elections so that the due processes could run their course, Ncobo said that he has asked Fifa to apply the rules of section G of the electoral code. That section obligates Fifa to step in and place a member association under administration when it has violated its statues or the electoral code. According to Ncobo both Fifa and SAFA have agreed that there have been violations but will allow for a self-corrective process. If they fail to affect that process they will then apply the provisions of section G and place the association under administration.
Ncobo believes that this now leaves SAFA with no choice but to comply.
The whole debacle has again brought into question the morality of SAFA and the incumbent president, Jordaan. Will the elections take place as scheduled or will SAFA follow the guidelines set out by Fifa with regards to section G of their electoral code?
One thing is for sure is that South African football deserves better. In recent years SAFA has been riddled with maladministration and has failed to meet both sporting and administrative goals. Something has to give and hopefully for the good of South African football, SAFA follows Fifa’s instructions. And maybe, just maybe we could finally have a president who could take football in South Africa forward, after years of disappointment.
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