Gravy train’s wheels keep on turning

Sport on by Mogan Segadavan

THE news this weekend that the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) sent a five-man delegation to Austria to accompany the country’s lone participant in the Winter Youth Olympics should not come as a surprise.
It is not the first time nor will it be the last.
For the Soccer World Cup in Korea and Japan in 2002 Safa sent about 50 officials, including their own security chief.
This was more than double the playing squad.
And there is more.
Those Safa officials who decided not to go on the jaunt were given a cash handout. Perhaps this explains why a certain official is reported to have suffered a stroke and died after being voted out of office a couple of years later. It was too painful to be chucked off the gravy train.
Back to the Sascoc saga.
The country’s top sports body is reported to have received R400-million in funding from Lotto. This is apart from grants from government, sponsors and an Olympic Solidarity allocation.
This is hardly surprising considering the Lotto distribution body is headed by Sascoc president, Gideon Sam, and includes Sascoc’s first deputy president and former Port Elizabeth resident, Hajera Kajee.
But Sascoc is not the richest sports body in the country. That honour belongs to Cricket South Africa which has an operating budget of more than R700-million.
Perhaps that is why bonuses are being handed out at the drop of a hat.
Talking of bonuses, will anything come out of the Nicholson inquiry? Don’t hold your breath.
With the millions freely available to sports bodies I wonder what the last president of the non-racial Federation Profession League (FPL), Ashwin Trikamjee, must be thinking.
In those days the FPL often started the season without a cent in sponsorship and had absolutely no idea if they would be able to award any prize money to the clubs at the end of the year. But they soldiered on, and ran a first class organisation, unlike the circus we have now.
Poor Sive Speelman, the 16-year-old Alpine skier who was accompanied by the five-man delegation to the Olympics, must have been over whelmed by the support of the officials.
The poor blighter finished last in his first event, the Alpine Skiing Men’s Super-G race.

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