Ray Mali takes over ASA administration

Monday, November 16, 2009

Pretoria - Former cricket administrator and South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) board member, Ray Mali, is expected to take over as an interim administrator of Athletics South Africa (ASA) this morning.

This was announced by the Olympic governing body, SASCOC, after a meeting on Saturday.

SASCOC said the move was aimed at speedily clearing up matters surrounding ASA's handling of the Caster Semenya saga. Semenya won the 800 metre title at the World Track and Field championships in Berlin in August but then a furore broke out over her gender and how the revelations were dealt with.

Earlier this month, SASCOC suspended ASA's President Leonard Chuene, its board members and then the entire athletics body over their handling of the Semenya debacle.

However, the suspended ASA board members are apparently refusing to leave the positions.

Speaking at the meeting, President Gideon Sam said the body had followed due process.

"Action taken so far has been done on the advice of the Legal and Arbitration Commission. ASA responded to the suspension by informing SASCOC that we had no right to impose the suspension but we sought further legal counsel and we are certainly within our rights to do so," he said.

The SASCOC board is expected to initiate steps to convene a meeting of all stakeholders in athletics to form an interim board to govern and regulate athletics in South Africa.

Sam said that it is up to athletes to govern their sport. "The view of SASCOC is that the athletes always come first so Mr Mali will invite all the relevant stakeholders to elect an interim board to run athletics."

All national federations present at Saturday's meeting supported SASCOC's decision, including Deputy Minister of Sport and Recreation, Gert Oosthuizen.

"In terms of the humiliation of Caster Semenya, the ministry has declared our support for SASCOC who have the powers to act. People must be held accountable," said Oosthuizen.

SASCOC has also been in touch with the International Association of Athletics Federation (IAAF), world track and field's governing body, about recognition for any interim body in order that South Africa's athletes will be permitted to compete internationally.

Meanwhile, the ASA board has decided to call a Special General Meeting on Saturday, for ASA members to pronounce on the leadership and the position of the board. It believes that the outcome of the meeting will pave the way for ASA going forward in the interest and to the benefit of all its members and its licensed athletes.