Thulas Nxesi. Picture GALLO IMAGES
Thulas Nxesi. Picture GALLO IMAGES

The South African Football Association’s (Safa’s) plans to bid for the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations could be complicated by SA Rugby’s bid for the Rugby World Cup in the same year‚ Sport and Recreation Minister Thembelani "Thulas" Nxesi says.

Addressing Safa’s national executive committee on Wednesday‚ Nxesi cautioned that Safa might be advised to find sponsors and financial backers should it want to bid for the 2023 Nations Cup, as SA Rugby had done for its bid.

"I am informed that Safa wants to consider hosting the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations. But I’m not sure of the timing‚ because there’s big rugby (in the same year)‚" Nxesi said.

"If Saru wins its bid for the 2023 Rugby World Cup‚ it will be difficult to host two big events in one year.

"Also‚ I need to make the point that to get the Cabinet’s support for the 2023 rugby bid it had to be packaged as an economic bid‚ so that basically it would not require any financial contribution from the fiscus.

"And even then it was a very close call. We had to dig deep to convince the Cabinet.

"It’s because of the economic climate. Government is cutting down on a number of departments. Our small budget of R1bn is also being cut.

"And in the economic climate I cannot see government being prepared to take further risks unless there is something very strong on the table. So it has to be packaged very well.

"And I must say with rugby they have gone to a number of companies and a number of sponsors who will be able to ease that guarantee that has to be paid by the government‚ over a long period — some even after the tournament‚ if we succeed.

He said Safa president Danny Jordaan would need to dig deep into his experience of winning previous bids.

Nxesi addressed Safa’s executives on a broad range of issues.

Among them he confirmed that the Department of Sport and Recreation will institute a ministerial commission of inquiry into the death of two supporters‚ and 17 injuries‚ at the preseason Carling Black Label Cup match between Kaizer Chiefs and Orlando Pirates on July 29.

"I will be announcing the establishment of two ministerial committees of inquiry (on Wednesday)‚ with detailed terms of reference‚" Nxesi said.

"I’ve discussed it with the president (Jacob Zuma) and with the chairperson of the PSL (Irvin Khoza).

"The first is the FNB stampede at the Pirates and Chiefs game on July 29.

"And the second one is into the allegations of noncompliance in government regulations in the running of Sascoc (the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee)."

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