Ria Ledwaba calls on FIFA to appoint normalisation committee to SAFA

Ria Ledwaba calls on FIFA to appoint normalisation committee to SAFA

Former SAFA vice-president Ria Ledwaba has called on FIFA to intervene amidst the fraud allegations against the local football motherbody, arguing that the case is a violation of the FIFA Governance Regulations.

The Hawks Serious Commercial Crimes Investigation unit raided SAFA’s headquarters in Johannesburg on 8 March, with allegations of fraud and theft amounting to R1.3 million, pinning SAFA president Danny Jordaan at the centre of this investigation. 

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Speaking to the media after announcing the withdrawal of her ban from football, which was unlawfully handed down by the association, Ledwaba called on FIFA to appoint a normalisation committee to SAFA, as has been done with other football associations. 

"When an organisation has total collapse of governance, and when an organisation mismanages the funds, FIFA would come and normalise them [the association]," said Ledwaba.

"They've done it in a number of federations, where they appoint individuals in the country – obviously, doing their own research to get the relevant people to normalise the federation, and then they will have proper elections and all that.

"But I'm saying, the first thing FIFA must do is to look at the constitution of SAFA – does it really serve the purpose of football, or does it serve the purposes of an individual who puts things there and changes the constitution.

"I don't know how many times that constitution has been changed. Where have you ever seen a constitution that's being changed every time just before elections?"

In July last year, the FIFA Council lifted a suspension imposed on the Zimbabwe Football Association (ZIFA) in February 2022 and appointed a normalisation committee with immediate effect. 

The duties of the committee included running the daily affairs of ZIFA, restructuring their administration and reviewing the federation's Statutes and Electoral Code to ensure its compliance with the FIFA Statutes, while ensuring its adoption by the ZIFA Congress.

Meanwhile, SAFA sent Ledwaba another letter on Tuesday night to withdraw their initial letter, dated 6 March 2024, that aimed to ban the former VP from football and declaring her a ‘persona non-grata’ within the organisation. 

Ledwaba says she was never startled by the initial letter.

"I wasn't entirely surprised because SAFA can do the unbelievable. I just read it and questioned a lot of things on the letter," she added.

"Who took that decision? What informed their decision? Because they were raising the court issue, and I know we have given notice to them that we are appealing [the earlier High Court outcome], and they gave notice that they are opposing my appeal.

"So if somebody gives notice to oppose, why would they refer to the judge in their letter as if they are praising the outcome so much as a finality?"