South African sport could be nationalised under new draft bill

South African sport could be nationalised under new draft bill

- South African sporting bodies risk losing their independence if new draft amendment bill is passed

- The new amendments extend to all sports and organisations including fitness gyms

- Sporting bodies are concerned that South Africa's involvement in international events could be compromised

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A new draft amendment bill proposed by the Department of Sports, Arts and Culture could effectively nationalise South African sport.

The regulations proposed in the draft bill would limit the independence of governing bodies in sport.

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The regulatory oversight would extend beyond the obvious sports bodies such as SAFA, SASCOC or Cricket South Africa and apply to all sports clubs and organisations. This would also include gyms and fitness clubs.

“To amend the National Sport and Recreation Act, 1998, so as to delete, amend and insert certain definitions; to provide for the promotion and development of sport and recreation; to establish a Sport Arbitration Tribunal to resolve disputes between sport or recreation bodies; to provide for and regulate combat sport; to provide for and regulate the fitness industry; to provide for the procedure in bidding for and hosting of international sports and recreationevents; to provide for the delegation of powers, and to provide for offences and penalties, and to provide for matters connected therewith.” Opening paragraph of the draft ammendment bill

There are concerns that the bill would give the government too much control of sport and risk interfering with the independence of sport which could have serious implications for South Africa's participation in international events.

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Sumayya Khan, the Secretary-general of the department of Sports and Recreation, defended the draft bill by saying:

“(The minister) is just seeking to establish a mechanism through which the department can maintain oversight, without getting mixed up in the day-to-day running of sports bodies.”

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