Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
2 minute read
12 Sep 2013
6:00 am

Marathon duel over next Soweto race

Wesley Botton

While Athletics South Africa (ASA) president James Evans insists the Soweto Marathon Trust (SMT) has no rights to the race, it was revealed yesterday the annual 42km event was handed over to the SMT last year.

FILE PICTURE: Discovery runners during the 2011 Soweto Marathon at the MTN Expo Centre in Nasrec on November 06, 2011 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Photo by Lee Warren / Gallo Images

Evans said in a statement that this year’s race, scheduled to be held in November, had not been cancelled, despite the SMT announcing on Monday that it had been called off. “There is no evidence available to ASA that any grouping calling themselves the SMT is a member of any of ASA’s affiliates,” Evans said.

“As such it cannot, in terms of the rules of the sport, organise an athletics event such as a marathon and therefore cannot cancel one.” However, The Citizen is in possession of a copy of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between ASA, Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) and the SMT.

It was signed by Evans, SMT spokesman Banele Sindani and CGA president James Moloi in September last year. “The SMT will organise the Soweto Marathon starting in 2013, and beyond,” the MOU states.

“In other words, the 2012 edition of the Soweto Marathon… will be the last edition of the Soweto Marathon to be organised by ASA.” Evans said ASA had no proof that the SMT had been registered as a Trust, or that it was affiliated to a member of the national federation.

Sindani, a founder of the race and a former ASA and Sascoc chief executive, said the Trust was in the process of being registered, with a law firm agreeing to handle it pro bono. Moloi, meanwhile, confirmed the Trust reported to CGA, and was audited by the province, a member of ASA.

“The Trust was formed by CGA clubs,” he said. The SMT, which blamed its failure to secure a sponsor on the current image of ASA, announced earlier this week the embattled national federation, which has a contract with the SABC, would not release the broadcast rights fees for the event.

Evans said the broadcast rights fees, in accordance with the ASA constitution, were used to run the federation and send teams to international competitions.