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Play fair with sports fans

Sunday Times Editorial | 2011-10-16 02:16:45.0

Sunday Times Editorial:IT is stating the obvious to say our national sports teams are nothing without their fans. And we have some of the world's best fans. Witness those who turned out to welcome the Springboks back from the Rugby World Cup earlier this week.

IT is stating the obvious to say our national sports teams are nothing without their fans. And we have some of the world's best fans. Witness those who turned out to welcome the Springboks back from the Rugby World Cup earlier this week.

They knew that John Smit and his players had given their all after losing by the narrowest of margins to Australia in a game which the referee messed up.

But fans are having their loyalty tested by the administrators of our other two major sports - football and cricket.

The soccer bosses made the grievous miscalculation that Bafana had qualified for the African Cup of Nations tournament after drawing with Sierra Leone when the rules clearly showed they had not.

The dancing celebration of the players that had the nation on its feet in ecstasy after Siphiwe Tshabalala fired in the first goal of the 2010 World Cup was repeated as farce as the team wrongly celebrated their "qualification".

Football fans are livid. They feel cheated and the national team's standing has plummeted.

Then there are the fans of cricket who have been subjected to the most outrageous treatment by administrators.

Fans in Gauteng were punished by a boycott of the Wanderers by administrators who did not like the provincial union's questioning of their IPL bonuses. Many may never return to the turnstiles as the feeding at the bonus trough continues.

And fans in the Eastern Cape are being asked to accept that a convicted fraudster, Rayan Moodaley, is a legitimate candidate for the Eastern Province Cricket Board presidency.

What does Cricket SA's Ray Mali think about the issue? "If he is nominated and he wins naturally at election time, then there is nothing wrong - anything else outside of cricket should not matter," he told The Times.

Administrators would do well to up their game or they will say goodbye to the fans that make them rich.

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