Oliphant sheds light on SA Football

UNCOMPROMISING: Safa president Molefi Oliphant. 16/03/07. 

OPTIMISTIC: Molefi Oliphant. Pic. Mohau Mofokeng. 24/09/05. © Sowetan.
UNCOMPROMISING: Safa president Molefi Oliphant. 16/03/07. OPTIMISTIC: Molefi Oliphant. Pic. Mohau Mofokeng. 24/09/05. © Sowetan.

Sipho Mthembu

Sipho Mthembu

South African Football Association (Safa) president Molefi Oliphant has spoken out for the first time about the association's commercial wing, SA Football (Pty) Ltd.

In an uncompromising mood, the usually measured Oliphant warned that SA Football was not a new centre of power for ambitious individuals.

"It is not a vehicle to put certain people in their place, either," Oliphant charged.

This comes after sustained media reports purported that the Safa entity was Safa vice-president Mwelo Nonkonyana's personal fiefdom with unnamed individuals out to pull him (Oliphant) down.

Oliphant emphasised that whatever accrued from the activities of SA Football belonged to Safa, as 100 percent shareholders. Safa's legal department was finalising a memorandum of agreement, under which the new body would be run.

Oliphant dismissed as nonsensical suggestions that the commercial wing was formed on the instructions of Fifa.

"We felt Safa should get some tax immunity and we decided on it becoming a PBO [public benefit organisation].

"We then set up a task team under Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana to do some research. From the task team's recommendations and the Zimbali minute an agreement came out on the commercial wing and that was ratified by the national executive committee in December 2004," Oliphant said.

The Zimbali minute was a result of a meeting of the Joint Liaison Committee, which is made up of Safa and the Premier Soccer League.

"The agreement was to incorporate a company controlled by Safa for the carrying out of commercial activities relating to football, including Bafana Bafana and the other national representative teams, and the support structures [coaches, managers, technical and support staff]," Oliphant said

He said it would also cover an elite academy of the association, brand building and protection, merchandising, sponsors and official suppliers, media rights (both domestic and international), marketing, tours, tournaments and competitions, rules and regulations and professional referees.

He described SA Football as the fifth pillar after the division of responsibilities that took place earlier.

"The other pillars are the [World Cup] Local Organising Committee [under vice-president Irvin Khoza], administrative and finance [under vice- president Mubarak Mahomed], development, which will be responsible for national teams' development, referees, coaches and national competitions [under vice president Mwelo Nonkonyana] and the national and international relations pillar under myself.

"My pillar includes handling relations with government, sister associations, the Confederation of Southern African Football Associations, Confederation of African Football, Fifa as well as Sascoc (South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee).

"But I am also in charge of overseeing all the other pillars as president of the organisation," Oliphant said.

He said the LOC, which was more autonomous, was run according to the organising-association agreement Safa signed with Fifa.