Mon, 26 Aug 2019

Cape Town - Athletics South Africa (ASA) president Aleck Skhosana says he will meet with the Department of Sport and Recreation to plan the way forward following the federation's poor showing in the 2017/18 Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report.

The EPG report is government's ongoing attempt at holding all 19 sporting federations accountable in reaching their own transformation targets, from the field of play to the boardroom.

Based largely on the fact that ASA failed to submit much of their key data for the sixth straight year since the report's inception, sports minister Tokozile Xasa laid into the federation on Tuesday.

As a result, ASA has been given until June 31 to come up with a plan and present it to government to plot the way forward in terms of how it can improve its EPG scores.

While representation among the actual athletes passes most categories, ASA reached just 10 of the 32 self-set targets they had agreed to for the 2017/18 report.

That contributed towards an overall score of 31% compared to cricket (52%), football (57%), netball (58%) and rugby (60%).

Other problem areas listed in the report included a lack of representation at administrative and boardroom level, a lack of representation amongst coaches and also a lack of representation amongst those athletes currently being given high performance training.

With administrative issues having plagued ASA in recent times, some of the self-set targets were perhaps too optimistic and a revamped proposal is expected to be submitted to the EPG by the end of June with detailed plans on how to improve moving forward.

If ASA does not comply with government's suggested changes, they run the risk of losing significant funding while they could also lose the right to compete internationally.

Speaking to Sport24 on Thursday, Skhosana said that the ASA leadership had met on Wednesday and that they are open to engagement with government.

"We have read what the report and we are continuing to read," Skhosana said.

"We are waiting for the engagement with the minister as she said she would like to have that platform with us.

"We can't say what we're going to say to the minister or what she is going to say to us ... we will wait for that engagement first."

Skhosana added that the possible sanctions would also form part of the discussions.

"We are waiting for that correspondence from the minister and then we will be able to sit with them."

Sport24 has contacted the Department of Sport several times for comment on what the sanctions could mean for South African athletes, but there has been no response.

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