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Kodwa plays down ‘boxing match’ with Jordaan, says government backs Safa ditching World Cup

Sports minister Ziza Kodwa addresses a press conference at Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria on Tuesday.
Sports minister Ziza Kodwa addresses a press conference at Tshedimosetso House in Pretoria on Tuesday.
Image: Department of sport, arts and culture/X

He was at a press conference announcing a new Boxing SA board, but sports minister Zizi Kodwa also played down a figurative “boxing match” with South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan as Safa withdrew its 2027 Fifa Women’s World Cup bid last week.

Safa dramatically announced its sudden withdrawal of the World Cup bid on Friday night.

Subsequent reports were the government was unhappy with aspects of Safa’s bid and withdrew the guarantees needed for the association to continue.

A report in City Press was that a meeting between the government and Safa on Thursday became heated, and Kodwa dressed down Jordaan and told him the government was not backing the bid.

The sports minister was asked about the virtual meeting at a press conference in Pretoria where he made several high-profile announcements on Tuesday. Kodwa did not deny some stern words were exchanged nor did he disavow the notion he was not happy with some of Safa’s responses.

“What happened in the meeting? Look, the CEO of Sascoc [Nozipho Jafta] is here, deputy [sports] minister [Nocawe Mafu] is here — when I meet, I don’t meet friends, I meet people who are expected to work,” Kodwa said.

“So if one can read that as ... you call it a boxing [match] or what? I don’t think there was a boxing, but as the minister responsible, who must go to cabinet ... because none of the people who were in the meeting on Thursday must go to cabinet, and cabinet is tough, especially when it comes to money.

“It starts with the president [Cyril Ramaphosa], [asking], ‘Why? Where does the money come from?’ So if I don’t get answers I will not go to cabinet just to embarrass myself.”

Earlier, in his written statement, Kodwa said: “The government was clear in November 2022 when supporting Safa’s expression of interest in hosting the World Cup. But the letter cannot be considered an underrating, a guarantee of financial commitment by the department of sport, arts and culture or any other department.

“The department has fully supported Safa in providing the federation with the platform to address various levels of government and stakeholders. The government was also willing to participate in the Fifa observer programme for potential host cities during the [2023 Women’s] World Cup in New Zealand and Australia.

“We respect the decision by Safa to work towards a well-prepared bid in 2031.”

Kodwa played down the notion that the government was unhappy with aspects of Safa’s bid strategy, though seemed to do so ambiguously.

“We don’t bid as the government; it’s the federation that came [with the bid]. Obviously the government must give certain guarantees. So if netball will host a successful World Cup, World Netball will look at the country as a whole — your security, your accommodation and so on ... So I’m sure federations know that, among other things, they must be prepared when they submit a bid. You cannot submit a bid and come to government and say, ‘pay the bill’.

“CSA have just been awarded [the ICC Under-19 World Cup, after Sri Lanka withdrew], within a few days we convened a meeting, CSA said, ‘We don’t need any money from you, but we need guarantees.’

“The South African government has hosted many premier events. So we can’t have an association that comes to us and wants money for big bidding.

“So there are issues of leadership, we’ll leave those issues there. But all we can do is say at this stage, we support the decision.”

Guarantees governments provide to host World Cups include access to a country, a supportive financial environment, facilities, safety and security, healthcare services, transport, accommodation and telecommunications.

Watch Kodwa's full press conference here.


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