Jordaan's backers accuse FNB Stadium management of interfering in Safa presidential race

Former Premier Soccer League (PSL) referee and general manager Andile "Ace" Ncobo is entangled in a war of words with the leadership of the SA Football Association (Safa).
Former Premier Soccer League (PSL) referee and general manager Andile "Ace" Ncobo is entangled in a war of words with the leadership of the SA Football Association (Safa).
Image: Mahlatse Mphahlele

The Football Transformation Forum (FTF) is asking questions as to why proposed potential election opponents of South African Football Association president Danny Jordaan continually use FNB Stadium as a press conference venue.

The FTF are the body who backed Jordaan becoming president of Safa.

FTF secretary-general Mzwandile Maforvane questioned the link between the company that runs FNB, Stadium Management South Africa (SMSA)‚ and proposed Safa presidential candidates Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana and Andile “Ace” Ncobo.

SMSA CEO Jacques Grobbelaar and Ncobo‚ though‚ labeled the FTF’s suggestion that the company might support the removal of Jordaan as Safa president “absurd” and “paranoid”.

Both Ncobo and Nonkonyana have held press conferences at FNB.

Both withdrew their candidacies for the Safa presidency in the now-cancelled elections‚ but both have also been vocal in their desire to see Jordaan unseated.

“We are concerned about the involvement of SMSA in this whole saga‚” Maforvane said.

“Because we have realised that these guys [Ncobo and Nonkonyana] are using their facilities.

“And they might have said that they have acquired the facilities.

"But once you have your branding‚ it shows that you are also marketing yourselves‚ you are also benefitting from something.

“When those press conferences are held the Stadium Management branding is part of that.

“When ‘Chief’ [Nonkonyana] held his first press conference at FNB‚ the branding was there‚ and in the two press conferences that Ace held.

“As the FTF we feel there is some collusion to remove Jordaan as Safa president‚” Maforvane said.

Grobbelaar said SMSA’s aim is to make FNB Stadium profitable‚ with a priority on functions‚ product launches and press conferences.

“Stadium Management is a privately-owned company that manages facilities and also commercialises the facilities‚” he said.

“We are in no way involved in the management of football. We are servants of it‚ and that includes Safa.

“We form a very strong Stadium Management brand‚ which is internationally acclaimed. So we are very proud of our brand‚ and our branding is up at the stadium.

“In the press conference room our brand is affixed to the benches‚ and we’ve got our backdrops there too.

“So our branding is not specifically put there for certain clients – it is affixed branding.”

Grobbelaar said it was the individual client’s choice whether to bring their own branding to cover up the SMSA branding.

He said that this week he had‚ after a request by Safa official Russell Paul‚ offered for a Banyana Banyana and Sasol television advert to be shot at FNB for free.

“I’m a servant of football. So I assisted football and said‚ ‘I’m not going to charge you for that’‚” Grobbelaar said.

“So for me‚ the comments made are unfounded and definitely a bit paranoid.”

Sisa Majola‚ the campaign manager for Nonkonyana and media representative for Ncobo‚ said the FTF’s suggestions were “absurd”.

“SMSA and FNB Stadium are an independent entity who avail the facility to any prospective client. It is absurd that anyone can be [so] paranoid [as to] to suggest such nonsense‚” Majola said via text message.

“I personally made contact [with SMSA] and we paid for venue hiring services like any other client.”

Majola said that as a previous employee of SMSA he had contacts within the company.

Grobelaar added: “I was approached by Sisa‚ because he used to work with me.”

Ncobo scoffed at the FTF’s allegation.

“I’d rather discuss football‚” he said.

“I don’t want to get petty.

“Whether I have a press conference on top of a mountain‚ under a bridge‚ or in a 10-star hotel has got nothing to do with what is wrong in football.

“It just tells you how rotten the brains of these people are.

"They have not once taken the nation into confidence in terms of why they violated their own statutes [on the election] and what they are doing to correct that.”

Safa have in the past indicated their desire to bring FNB Stadium under their control.

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