Pic Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

The South African Football Association (Safa) has agreed to reinstate Ria Ledwaba as vice president. This comes after the withdrawal of Natasha Tsichlas from the position on Tuesday.

Tsichlas was unanimously appointed as Safa’s as a direct replacement for Ledwaba at the Safa NEC meeting on Saturday, 19 September 2020.

“The NEC having deliberated on the matter and having considered my submission agreed that it would be wise to withdraw from the arbitration process and reinstate Ria Ledwaba as Vice-President of Safa,” the football governing body said in a statement.

Together with fellow deputy president, Gay Mokoena, Ledwaba was relieved off her duties as Danny Jordaan’s lieutenant in June over misconduct.

Ledwaba had started a process of challenging the removal.

But Tsichlas has advised the NEC against pursuing the matter of arbitration, which she explained, maybe “prolonged and costly”.

“I am happy that I could convince the NEC then and express my appreciation to the NEC to agree to withdraw from the arbitration and to reinstate Ria Ledwaba,” said Tsichlas.

As the longest-serving woman on football structures in the country and internationally, Tsichlas raised the following concerns:

As a businesswoman, I always believed that the money in football must be used to promote the development of football. I, therefore, requested a consultation on the matter with the members of NEC who were present in the meeting on Saturday, 19 September 2020.

This, however, must in my view not be regarded as my agreeing with or condoning any act of misconduct or turning a blind eye to any wrongdoing.

The women on the Safa Executive were insulted, abused, humiliated, and even had their lives threatened by people who have made no contribution to the growth of football in our country.

Safa is a leader in promoting women in football (Administration, Coaches, Referees, National Team Coaches, promotion of Education, and the promotion of our players internationally).

I have served on the women committees of both CAF and Fifa for many years, promoting the interest of women and both CAF and Fifa are full of praise of Safa and its leadership’s role in the promotion of women in football.

Ria Ledwaba sold her club in 2002 and left football and after I served on the 2010 Fifa World Cup Organising Committee as a board member, I convinced the NEC to bring Ria back to football in 2013.

Safa CEO Tebogo Motlanthe said: “Safa is happy to endorse the presentation of Natasha Tsichlas and to support it from one of our selfless women leaders who offered to step back from the vice president post for Ria Ledwaba to return.

“We want to reiterate that this must not be viewed as condonation of wrong-doing but a response from an internationally recognised woman leader in football.

‘’We further agreed that the money that would have been spent on legal costs is better served to provide our 52 Regions with financial support to further football development.”

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