Mali takes over ASA

FORMER cricket boss Ray Mali yesterday took over the reins at Athletics South Africa and immediately announced he would be meeting Leonard Chuene urgently.

FORMER cricket boss Ray Mali yesterday took over the reins at Athletics South Africa and immediately announced he would be meeting Leonard Chuene urgently.

Chuene did not report to the office yesterday but confirmed that he had been called by Mali and that the two would speak.

"I will meet him to hear what he has to say," said Chuene, who was relaxing at home.

Mali was appointed by South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee to take over the administration of the ASA after the Olympic body suspended Chuene and his board over their handling of the Caster Semenya verification gender tests.

Mali, who is a Sascoc board member, took over the office at noon yesterday and Chuene was nowhere near the Houghton offices.

The resistance expected from Chuene and the ASA over their suspension and takeover by Sacoc did not happen.

The administrator, however, plans to meet the embattled ASA boss as part of his mandate to restore the image of the sport.

Addressing the media after taking over the control of the ASA, Mali said he would need the support and cooperation of all the stakeholders in the sport.

Mali, the former Cricket South Africa president, was flanked by ASA media officer Ethel Manyaka, Sascoc employees Khaya Majeke and Cliffie Cobers.

Majeke and Cobers will be helping the veteran Mali in his process of getting athletics back on track as per mandate of Sascoc.

In the absence of Chuene, Mali and his delegation were welcomed by ASA general manager Molatelo Malehopo, whom they informed about their takeover.

"I spoke to Chuene on the phone and we agreed that we will meet soon. Sascoc president Gideon Sam is busy working on the issue of dealing with the IAAF."

Later yesterday there was drama at ASA headquarters when Mali and suspended Malehopo clashed.

This was after Mali accused Malehopo of trespassing.

It was the second meeting on the day after the duo met earlier in the morning where Mali reminded Malehopo about his suspension and asked him to leave the premises.

Malehopo insisted that his suspension and that of the ASA was unlawful.

This was after Malehopo returned to the office after meeting with his lawyers about his suspension by the Olympic body, which has also suspended ASA president Leonard Chuene, the board and other staff members.

The 40-minute long drama ended after the police were reportedly called by Mali and Malehopo separately, accusing each other of trespassing. It was those called by Mali who arrived first at ASA House.

"The police had a meeting with the two parties where the issue relating to Malehopo, who was very humble, was discussed," said a source at the ASA.

"Molatelo produced a letter from his lawyers stating that Sascoc did not have the right to suspend him because he was employed by the ASA and not Sascoc.

"He decided to leave after negotiations with the police to avoid a potentially explosive confrontation.

"This was after he made it clear to Ray that the move was unlawful," the source said.

When approached, Malehopo said: "I'm sorry I can't comment on this matter because everything is in the hands of the lawyers."