Ockert de Villiers.

South African sport is up the creek without a paddle, and there is little evidence of the situation changing anytime soon.

Finances seem to be drying up, and the scramble to find new funding models has been going on unabated behind the scenes.

Rugby, soccer and cricket have always been considered the rich nephews to the other codes in the country, but even they are sometimes treading on thin ice when it comes to funding.

I will turn my attention to the Olympic codes that have traditionally been vulnerable in terms of finances.

I reported more than a year ago about the massive implications lottery funding cuts would have on the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc).

At the heart of the issue is the fact that the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund (NLDTF) would cut funding drastically to the Olympic body due to policy changes.

The NLDTF now considers Sascoc as a normal federation, slashing their annual funding from approximately R70 million per year to only R5 million.

That was the projected loss when the policy changes first emerged more than a year ago, and the situation could be even direr.

Appearing before the portfolio committee on sport and recreation last month, Sascoc president Gideon Sam painted a grim picture of the organisation’s financial position.

He said funding from the National Lottery Commission (NLC) has dropped from R100 million to just R10 million.

This is a massive blow to athletes that foster dreams of representing the country at the Olympic Games.

Sam explained that 56 percent of Sascoc’s expenditure was related to high-performance programmes, 18 percent for team delivery, nine percent for administration, while seven percent went towards salaries and board fees.

The athletes will suffer as teams would be cut to make up for the shortfall.

It means fewer young, aspiring athletes would make it to Commonwealth Games, Africa Games and the Youth Olympics, which serve as stepping stones towards the Olympic Games.

Lottery money has over the years disappeared into the black hole that is Sascoc, where it received R76m (2013), R110m (2014), R63m (2015) and R187m (2016) over the last Olympic cycle.

The Olympic body produced South Africa’s best medal haul since democracy at the Rio Games – two gold, six silver and two bronze.

While Sascoc have been discussing the budget cuts with the NLC, it seems to have amounted to nothing. But it also highlights Sascoc’s over-reliance on lottery and government funding.

Sascoc president Gideon Sam said that funding from the National Lottery Commission (NLC) has dropped from R100 million to just R10 million. Photo: Muzi Ntombela/BackpagePix

During the presentation to the portfolio committee, it was said that 43 percent of Sascoc’s revenue came from lottery, 23 percent from Olympic sponsors, 12 percent from the sports department and nine percent from broadcasting.

Sascoc’s revenue from sponsorships is unlikely to improve due to governance shenanigans.

Sponsors are reluctant to give them the keys to the Porsche because the federations do not seem to have qualified driver’s licences.

 

Saturday Star

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