Sports power struggle settled

David Isaacson

JAMES EVANS
JAMES EVANS

CONTROVERSIAL Athletics SA (ASA) president James Evans and his depleted executive stepped down yesterday, a move that clears the way for a temporary board to run the federation until elections are held.

Evans, Hendrick Ramaala and Geraldine Pillay relinquished their posts at a meeting in Pretoria with a top official from the IAAF, the world governing body for the sport.

Cheikh Thiare arrived in South Africa on Saturday and in two days achieved what nobody else has managed to do in a lengthy boardroom battle that, at times, resembled school kids fighting over a packet of sweets.

Thiare met the interim committee and the majority of ASA’s 17 provincial members, who had appointed the temporary executive at the ASA AGM last year after passing a vote of no confidence in Evans and his board.

The IAAF did not recognise the interim committee, the appointment of which failed to meet the world body’s constitution.

The Evans team will meet members of the interim committee to decide who will serve on the ad-hoc committee. Thiare wants a committee of five, but said this could be increased to seven.

“People who are chosen for the ad-hoc committee must be responsible and neutral,” Thiare told delegates yesterday. “They should also be known for their commitment to athletics.”

It is anticipated the ad-hoc committee will operate for at least three months, and nobody on that committee will be allowed to stand in the full elections.

Both parties have agreed to end court battles and to lift all suspensions of individuals – almost everybody on the executive or interim committee had been suspended by an opposing party at least once during the past year – and nobody will be excluded from running in the elections.

“There is no better medication than the rule of democracy, and the decision has returned to the members,” Thiare said.

Rather than “tearing the athletics family apart, you need to come together and find a solution”, he said

“Our core business as administrators is to take care of athletes because without them our purpose is irrelevant.

“What is important now is to pave the way forward.”

 

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