Safa wants stadium back

South Africa
The SA Football Association wants government to return the FNB stadium to the association. Picture: AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza

CAPE TOWN - The SA Football Association (Safa) wants government to return the FNB stadium to the association.

Briefing parliament's sport committee, Safa president Kirsten Nematandani said Safa was forced to hand the stadium -- otherwise known as Soccer City -- to the City of Johannesburg prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Safa had pumped R580 million into the venue which hosted the opening and final World Cup matches.

Nematandani said the only way Safa could get funding to turn the stadium into a world-class venue was if they agreed to hand it over to government.

"We are still sitting with a very sore heart to lose our own facility. We want what belongs to us back," he said.

If Safa regained control of the stadium it would add to the association's dwindling assets.

Earlier in the briefing, Safa executives told MPs they were selling off assets to address a "liquidity gap".

Safa executives admitted they incurred a loss of R56.4 million last year and said the association was cushioned by sufficient reserves it had built up over the past few years.

"As at the end of 2011 our reserves were standing at R98.7 million. However, after we incurred a loss of R56.4 million in 2012, the reserves at the end of June 2012 were standing at R42.2 million," said Safa chief financial officer Gronie Hluyo.

Safa had more current liabilities than assets, with the "liquidity gap" standing at R92.9 million.

Current liabilities are debts due within a year. Current assets include cash and other items that can be converted into cash within a year.

"Our total assets are more than our total liabilities. Our total assets are R224 million and our total liabilities are R182 million," said Hluyo.

Most of the assets were tied up in properties and vehicles -- particularly buses -- for the 52 regions Safa serviced. Safa had already sold some of the buses for R17 million.

Safa is busy selling properties and have already sold 40 % of the R10 million in shares it invested in Netcare.

"Safa is not bankrupt," Hluyo said.

-Sapa

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