Will sports minister Mthethwa go ahead with indaba after Safa snub?
Governing body says the event amounts to political interference in football that runs the risk of the country being banned by Fifa
A decision on whether the government’s planned Ministerial Football Indaba will go ahead will be made in the next few days after sports‚ arts and culture minister Nathi Mthethwa returns from Japan.
Mthethwa accompanied President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Rugby World Cup final and was due back on Tuesday afternoon‚ about the same time as members of the victorious Springbok side are set to touch down on home soil.
Top of his agenda on his return is to make a decision on the indaba‚ due to be held in Johannesburg from November 15-17‚ after the SA Football Association (Safa) refused to have anything to do with it.
Sports ministry officials said the non-participation of Safa hampers the effectiveness of the indaba.
Mthethwa wanted a broad discussion with major role players from all aspects of the game to find a solution to making SA teams‚ particularly Bafana Bafana‚ more successful on the international stage‚ and to seek a solution to poor attendance at most domestic football games.
But last week‚ just when Mthethwa was sending out invitations‚ Safa banned any participation by its members.
Safa said the indaba amounts to political interference in football that runs the risk of the country being banned by Fifa.
It also said it has held a recent indaba to plan for the future and from it produced its Vision 2022 document. This has been presented to Mthethwa.
Any indaba on the health of the game should be the prerogative of Safa‚ not the government‚ it added.
Mthethwa is now in a bind as he considers what to do — proceed with the indaba without any meaningful input from the soccer community or cancel the event and suffer a humiliating slapdown.