28 December 2013

South Africa: Safa Response to Sex Scandal Allegations

Norman Arendse, president of SAFA Cape Town, says that SAFA is vigorously pursuing charges that a senior SAFA official used his position to try and extract sexual favours from a young female colleague.

"There is no place for sexual predators in football," he said. "If this person is found guilty he will be fired and banned from football."

The man involved is Vernon Seymour, SAFA's Cape Town vice president, who is currently working on the African Nations Championship (CHAN) that is to take place in Cape Town in January.

Arendse said that as soon as SAFA was informed of the allegations it took action. "We learned of the allegations on November 1," he said. "On November 2 we suspended Mr. Seymour and started disciplinary hearings. To ensure we could not be accused of bias, we asked the Western Cape Sport and Recreation Department to conduct the investigation. We also informed CHAN of the situation and that organisation also took action, suspending him and seeking a disciplinary hearing.

"Since then Mr. Seymour has repeatedly failed to present himself at hearings and sought postponement after postponement. He also offered to resign from CHAN."

Arendse said that Mr. Seymour's resignation offer was rejected because CHAN want an open and transparent process in which justice is seen to be done and in which if Mr. Seymour is found guilty, he will be held accountable.

"We have received disturbing evidence of such a nature that it would be wrong of us to take any other course than to vigorously prosecute the matter and that is what we are doing," he said.

Mr. Arendse said that while the issue was disturbing, SAFA's method of dealing with it brought credit to the organisation. "We are doing everything we can to show that we take this matter extremely seriously and we will not rest until justice is done."

Mr. Seymour is has now obtained an urgent court interdict asking for the disciplinary hearings to be postponed until February 2014. "The granting of this interdict is deplored because the purpose of hearings was to give Mr. Seymour an opportunity to be heard. SAFA and Chan will certainly oppose the granting of a final interdict. Our lawyers are presently working on the matter.

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