News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 20th 2018

Ticket snub for 2010 football ambassadors

Sandiso Phaliso
The Western Cape’s World Cup provincial football ambassadors are up in arms after being told that a promise to give them free tickets to Cape games would not be honoured.
The 20 ambassadors, all leading sports personalities, also received the “heart breaking” news that their contracts would come to an end at the end of July, during a meeting with the province’s 2010 organising committee two weeks ago.

Ambassadors include the likes of Sacos (SA Council on Sport) sportsman of the year (1986) Adeeb Abrahams, former Banyana Banyana captain and one of the African Women’s Footballers of the Year 2000 Desiree Ellis,
Former Bafana Bafana captain Thabo Mngomeni, and a host of other top league players and award-winning sports writers.

The ambassador’s co-ordinator, Simphiwe Oliphant, said they were shocked when they were told about the lack of tickets, and claimed that the reasons they were given were “vague”.
“We are saddened by the change of heart of the provincial government not to give us tickets that were promised. Now they have told our contracts will end in July. We are groaning, our hearts are sore,” said Oliphant.

But Angus Flowers, spokesperson for the Western Cape department of Cultural Affairs, Sport and Recreation, said the ambassadors were paid an honorarium to conduct coaching clinics and to make public appearances, and had never been promised tickets.
“This is in line with a recent treasury circular which clearly states that under no circumstances may public funds be used to purchase 2010-related tickets,” said Flowers. “Anyone wanting tickets will have to purchase them out of their own pockets. We don’t have any lying around in the cupboard”.

Yet Whitey Jacobs, the former cultural affairs MEC under the ANC, who made the deal with the ambassadors, contradicted his statements. He accused the DA-led provincial government administration of reneging on promises made to the ambassadors who, he said, “had sacrificed their time and energy” since 2007 to promote the World Cup.
“The blame (not to give match tickets and ending the ambassador’s contracts) lies with the officials in charge”, Jacobs added that the decision was made because “politicians aligned with the current (DA) administration were undermining programmes of the previous (ANC) administration”.
Jacobs said that at the time the ambassadors’ programme was launched in 2007, “there was an understanding that the ambassadors would get match tickets”.
It had also been envisaged that the ambassadors’ contracts would be terminated once the World Cup was over, he added.
“I think it is bad that their contracts will come to an end after the World Cup. It (the contracts) was supposed to be renewed on an annual basis when the government’s financial year ends,” said Jacobs. “These people (the ambassadors) have sacrificed their time and this is unfair. They deserve better treatment,” said Jacobs.

The idea behind creating the ambassadors programme was to create a legacy for all South Africans that would continue years after the World Cup, said Jacobs.
Sivuyile Qinga, one of the ambassadors, said: “This is pathetic. Disappointment does not fully describe how we feel…we are fed up with this administration.”
Mara Sefalane, another ambassador, said: “They don’t respect us for the work we have done for them”.
And ambassador David Byrne added: “I was shocked to hear the news. It would have been a good gesture to get the tickets to honour the work we are doing in the communities.”

But Flower hit back saying that a formal employment contract had never existed between the department and the football ambassadors.
“Football Ambassadors who have made themselves available to conduct coaching clinics and do public appearances have been receiving honorariums, as agreed between them and the department.
“The Football Ambassador programme in its current format comes to an end at the end of July in line with the end of the 2010 World Cup.
Football-related projects would then be integrated into the provincial sport development programme of the department. Where needed, consideration will be given to using the skills base that the current crops of football ambassadors have to offer,” said Flowers.

Tags: 2010 World Cup ambassadors, Fifa World Cup, Football ambassadors, Sacos, Simphiwe Oliphant

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