Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
20 Apr 2015
4:48 pm

Athletics and football federations denounce xenophobia

Wesley Botton

With elite African athletes preparing to compete on the South African road running and track and field circuits, Athletics SA has offered assurance and support in the midst of ongoing xenophobic attacks.

Picture: Thinkstock

Athletes from various African nations are expected to compete at various events over the next six weeks, including the SA Open Championships in Potchefstroom, the Spar Women’s Challenge 10km race in Port Elizabeth and the prestigious 89km Comrades Marathon in KwaZulu-Natal.

“We assure people from all over the world, and African countries in particular, that ASA will continue to open its doors to athletes, in accordance with International Association of Athletics Federations rules,” said the federation’s president, Aleck Skhosana.

“Athletes from other countries will be safe and secure, and if they have any doubts they must contact ASA on their arrival.

“These unfortunate attacks are sporadic instances around the country and we continue to welcome foreign athletes with open arms.”

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula, meanwhile, lauded the SA Football Association and the Premier Soccer League for their active campaigns against xenophobia.

“The stance taken against xenophobia by the leadership, the teams and supporters in sport yet again signals the importance of sport in uniting people,” Mbalula’s department said in a statement.

“Let us all unite in our diversity as the constitution of the Republic of South Africa urges us to.”