Wesley Botton
Chief sports writer
1 minute read
19 Oct 2013
8:00 am

Soweto Marathon mess: ‘ASA politics to blame’

Wesley Botton

The Soweto Marathon may no longer have a future if core problems at Athletics South Africa (ASA) are not fixed, according to the provincial government and the rights holders for the race.

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

Banele Sindani, spokesman for the Soweto Marathon Trust, said yesterday they would not give up their fight for a cut of broadcast rights fees in the build-up to next year’s race.

Sindani confirmed the trust would be registered within the next 10 days, after signing a memorandum of understanding with ASA and Central Gauteng Athletics (CGA) late last year.

“The matter with ASA is not resolved, and until then we have a problem with the federation,” he said. “They also have a problem because they did not honour their agreement with the SABC to televise the race.”

Gauteng MEC for Sport, Lebogang Maile, said the race’s abandonment had little to do with any struggle to find sponsors.

The trust, ASA and the task team put together by Maile all said they had found funding, but potential sponsors were either concerned about the poor image of the sport or the lack of time remaining to organise the race.

“We’re going to have a meeting attended by the Sports Minister (Fikile Mbalula), ourselves and hopefully ASA to look at the matter,” Maile said on Thursday.

“At the core of this is broadcast rights fees which has been paid by the SABC, and we want answers.

“I don’t think raising money is a problem because even the minister said they were prepared to intervene financially. The problem is boardroom politics at ASA.

“It is important that ASA convenes a meeting with all the stakeholders involved in the marathon so we don’t have the problems recurring in subsequent years.”

The race, set be held on November 3, was eventually called off this week after the trust, CGA, Mbalula, the provincial government and the City of Johannesburg were involved in failed attempts to ensure it went ahead.