Monday, March 30, 2020

COSAFA skirts over alleged Honorarium payments to its President

The Council of Southern African Football Associations (COSAFA) is skirting around questions whether it paid close to a million Rand to its president Phillip Chiyangwa.

Despite its alleged financial struggles, COSAFA is alleged to have paid monies amounting to R881 150 to its president as ‘allowances and Honararium’ this past financial year alone.

Interestingly, of the alleged R881 150 paid to Chiyangwa, R500 000 is said to have come in the form of an ‘Honararium.’

The monies allegedly do not cover the COSAFA president’s accommodation and travel expenses, which are said to have been ‘tucked in the R749 055 summarised figure of travel and accommodation’ for the financial year ending September 2019.

All this comes in a year where the Southern African football body is alleged to have posted losses amounting to R2 505 190 in the financial year ending 30th September 2019.

Revelations of the eye watering payments to the COSAFA president surfaced ahead of the regional body’s General Assembly which was held on the 25th of January this year.

The issue of Chiyangwa’s allowances was a hot issue between COSAFA and the Zimbabwean Football Association (ZIFA), resulting in the latter nearly being kicked out of the regional body.

Following COSAFA sending its financial report to member associations, ZIFA allegedly wrote a stinging letter to the congress querying what it said was ‘unacceptable, abusive and tantamount to misappropriation and bordering on criminality.’

In the letter, which Sunday Standard has seen snippets of, ZIFA opined that the Honorarium paid to Chiyangwa was ‘bigger than the prize monies paid to the winners of COSAFA’s flagship competition, COSAFA men’s cup, which is R500 000.’

“How do we justify paying such an astronomical figure? … This is akin to FIFA paying its president ‘Honorarium’ which is more than the World Cup prize money,” ZIFA wrote.  

ZIFA’s letter seemingly rubbed the COSAFA hierarchy the wrong way as the federation was threatened with expulsion from COSAFA.

Following the letter from ZIFA which is dated 17 January 2020, COSAFA replied three days later informing ZIFA it was not a member in good standing.

In the letter to ZIFA, which was allegedly signed by COSAFA General Secretary Sue and dated 20th January 2020, the association was informed that the Emergency Committee of COSAFA had taken a decision to bar them from attending the January 25 congress in terms of Article 27.6 for ‘non-payment of dues to COSAFA …’

In the letter, the COSAFA General Secretary informed ZIFA that it had invoked the said Article 27.6 and ‘the association may not attend any meeting or activity of COSAFA including the Annual General Meeting taking place on 25th January 2020.’

The threat was seemingly enough to see ZIFA climb down from its position and it was allegedly allowed to take part in the COSAFA AGM.

Reached for comment on the alleged payments and in particular the alleged Honorarium to the COSAFA president, the regional body was reluctant to comment.

“The Audited Financial Statements for the period ended 30/9/2019, approved and adopted by the COSAFA General Assembly on 25 January 2020 speak for themselves,” COSAFA Media Officer Lynda Greeff wrote when responding to Sunday Standard’s questionnaire.

When reminded she had not answered whether it was true the COSAFA president had received such staggering Honorarium fees, Greeff said the written response ‘the response from our Secretariat.’

On whether the near expulsion of ZIFA from COSAFA had anything to do with the association’s letter of 20th January 2020, Greeff responded;  

“In accordance with Article 27.6 of the COSAFA Statutes Associations who have not paid subscriptions and/or other financial dues to COSAFA, lose all rights and privileges which includes amongst other things, the right to attend the General Assembly. This was the status in respect of the Associations of Namibia and Zimbabwe.”

An attempt to get a reaction from ZIFA proved futile with the association directing this publication to the COSAFA Media Officer as the right person to speak to.

While COSAFA is reluctant to comment, The Sunday Standard has it on good authority that the COSAFA Executive Committee has called on its president to repay the said ‘Honorarium.’

It is alleged that the issue of the payments was ‘picked up’ by the COSAFA Finance Committee which then recommended to the Executive Committee that Chiyangwa should repay the monies.

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