October 29 - Athletics South Africa (ASA), already under fire for its handling over the Caster Semenya (pictured) scandal, is at the centre of a new row over they were accused of misleading the country's Parliamentary Sports Committee over claims that they had withheld funding to help athletes prepare for the London 2012 Olympics.


Tubby Reddy, the chief executive of the South African Sports Confederation and Olympics Committee (Sascoc), claimed that the allegations were a "fabrication".


At the Parliamentary Committee meeting, ASA Board member Simon Dlamini asked for advice on what his association should do, given that Sascoc was withholding funding it needed to prepare its athletes for the Olympics.


Reddy said: "Athletics South Africa can continue with its fabrications.


"Everybody is getting used to it.


"It's almost a defence mechanism."


Reddy claimed Sascoc's Operation Excellence programme engaged national federations to identify athletes with a world ranking.


Fourteen athletes, including Semenya, had been earmarked for funding.


Reddy said: "We started the programme, which requires athletes, their coaches and Athletics South Africa to engage with us.


"But then we received a letter from ASA saying they didn't want us to engage with their athletes and its officials started not pitching up at meetings."


Under the programme, athletes can receive up to R500,000 (£39,000) a year to prepare them for 2012.


But Reddy said that only three athletes had so far been given money because of the problems with ASA, a Sascoc member.


Semenya, who won gold in the 800 metres at the World Championships in Berlin in August, has yet to receive funding.

Reddy said Sascoc had decided to push ahead with Operation Excellence - with or without ASA's support.


He said national federations had to apply for funding from the national lottery.


Sascoc had been told that ASA had applied for funding for only one year, whereas most federations had applied for support for four years.


This would lead to funding problems for ASA, Reddy warned.


Sascoc President Gideon Sam said it was up to ASA to look for its own funding.


He said: "We don't withhold funding.


"We're not a dispersing agency and we battle to get funds ourselves."


At the meeting of the Parliamentary Committee, chairman Butana Komphela said Sascoc would be called to explain the funding issue and why it had set up a commission to probe the Semenya matter.


Komphela said: "Sascoc is running a campaign against Athletics South Africa."



Related stories

October 2009: Sascoc begins investigation into Semenya affair

August 2009: South Africa buoyed for London 2012 by Berlin success

May 2009: South Africa identifies talent for London 2012

March 2009: South Africa out to show in 2012 it's not a banana republic