Cape Town - Athletics South Africa (ASA) needs to get its house in order, and fast, or run the risk of severe punishment that could impact its government funding as well as its right to compete internationally.
Because of another poor showing in the latest 2017/18 Eminent Persons Group (EPG) report that was released on Tuesday, ASA is facing sanction from the department of sport and recreation if it does not facilitate a complete overhaul of its transformation plan.
The EPH report holds South Africa's federations accountable in terms of how, and how quickly, they aid transformation in their respective codes.
Led by Dr. Willie Basson, the EPG report puts the onus on the federations themselves to commit to targets they think are achievable year in and year out.
While ASA was the worst-performing of the five major sporting codes in the country - soccer, rugby, cricket and netball all received pass marks - that is not where the problems stop.
The compiling of the EPG report depends on the federations commiting to the process, and this requires them to play an active role in submitting data.
That has been a problem area for ASA for all five previous years since the formation of the EPG report, and the federations scored just 28% in the category that evaluates the quality of their data submissions.
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, then government is threatening serious action.
The possible sanctions listed in the EPG report were:
- 50% or more of annual SRSA grants from being withheld, postponed or reduced
- The right to bid and/or stage international events locally withdrawn
- The position of the federation being reconsidered and the right to participate internationally being suspended
While the last threat seems drastic, even the thought of ASA not being able to send a team to the Tokyo Olympics should be enough to spark action.
Sport24 contacted ASA president Aleck Skhosana, who agreed to make a comment on Thursday after he had met with the ASA board on Wednesday.