“Oh, what a tangled web we weave
When first we practise to deceive!”
I couldn’t help but think of these words, written by poet Sir Walter Scott, when the news of Fifa’s bold exclamation that a bribe had in fact been paid with regards to South Africa’s hosting of the World Cup in 2010.
Then when the minister of sport and recreation Fikile Mbalula spoke in circles at a hastily arranged, although the man in question was late, press briefing in Cape Town on Thursday I couldn’t help but utter those words again.
There are always three sides to a story right?
While we still don’t have any clear answers on the whole saga just yet but what we do have is another clear example of a sporting organisation, meant to protect and serve as custodians, wheeling and dealing for financial gain.
It’s probably unfair to brand the organisation as a whole and rather target individuals within but often the rot is deep. If the shoe fits right?
What is it with sporting bodies peddling lies and being creative with the truth?
The Fifa saga puts the spotlight firmly on the South African Football Association and we’re once again reminded of some of the unscrupulous practices by a number of organisations. The scary thing is that it’s almost commonplace in South Africa.
The South African Rugby Union, Cricket South Africa, Safa, Athletics South Africa and Swimming South Africa – all members of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee – have all had their misgivings, some more recently than others.
In the last year CSA have been under scrutiny regarding the SMS saga at last year’s 50-0ver World Cup, the cover-up of disciplinary procedures against Aaron Phangiso at the end of last year and the ongoing match-fixing saga with information from that battle very much under wraps.
Saru have their CEO in the spotlight facing serious allegations and ASA are doing their utmost best to deny athletes a chance at qualification for the Olympics in Rio later this year. And of course we know what happened this week with Safa.
All these incidents have the ability to diminish the trust between players and administrators and then the link between teams and the fans, the people who continue to add money to the coffers by arriving at events and buying replica gear.
The last thing you want as a fan is to lose trust in your team. Can we believe that the Proteas XI put forward is the best one available or when Bafana Bafana walk out onto the pitch that they’re playing to win? When they score goals is it down to skill or were the opportunities gifted?