Cape Town - The SA Football Association has been hit by a sex scandal on the eve of next year’s African Nations Championship, with allegations that Safa Cape Town vice-president Vernon Seymour sexually harassed and solicited sexual favours from a young female colleague.
Seymour has also been accused of disorderly conduct, for allegedly using the name of the African Nations Championship (Chan) Local Organising Committee (LOC), and its resources to solicit sexual favours from the woman.
Seymour is Chan’s competitions manager in Cape Town, and is tasked with organising training and match venues for the tournament, which kicks off on January 11.
However, in an urgent application he brought in the Western Cape High Court this week, Seymour dismissed the sex allegations as untrue.
“I deny that I in any way sexually harassed (the complainant), nor offered or promised her a job, either at (the LOC) or at Safa Cape Town. I also deny that I solicited sexual favours from her,” he said.
According to Seymour’s papers, Safa Cape Town suspended him on November 3, before it held a disciplinary hearing regarding the sex claims, allegations that he had offered the complainant a job in return for sexual favours, and claims that he attempted to persuade the woman not to proceed with the matter.
The hearing continued until December 11, before being adjourned to February.
But two days later, Seymour received another notice – this time from the LOC – which informed him that a disciplinary inquiry was to be held on December 18 in connection with similar allegations.
Seymour said he attended that hearing, where he unsuccessfully asked for a postponement.
The hearing was supposed to start on December 23, but Seymour sought the urgent intervention of the courts, arguing that the same allegations, involving the same woman, were already the subject of the pending Safa Cape Town disciplinary proceedings.
“I want this matter to be fully presented to this honourable court, as I am now being tried in two different forums of the South African Football Association, involving the same facts, the same issues, the same parties and the same cause.
“It is my respectful submission that the proceedings instituted by the South African Football Association regional member, Safa Cape Town, should be concluded first before any further proceedings are launched involving the sexual allegations of (the complainant),” he said, adding that he stood to suffer grave and irreparable harm to his reputation.
If the complainant was allowed to give evidence in the hearing without him having had the opportunity to fully prepare, he would be prejudiced, and face the prospect of a guilty finding which would have grave consequences for his reputation and standing, he submitted.
Seymour said he had not been given a copy of the complaint, which further disadvantaged him.
Seymour was given a reprieve until January 21, after Judge Bennie Griesel ordered the LOC and the complainant to show cause on that date why the LOC disciplinary proceedings should not be stayed, pending the outcome of Seymour’s application.
The LOC did not respond to the allegations due to the short notice of the filing of the urgent application.
However, the court gave it leave to anticipate the return date, and advised it of its right to apply for a reconsideration of the order.