Athletics South Africa is still mulling over a decision on whether to allow Muslim runners to cover up the national logo of the National Lotteries Commission, following a flood of complaints from various Cape Town running clubs. The logo is placed on the 2017 licence issued by Athletics South Africa and Western province Athletics and must be used in every race run in the Western Cape. Removing or covering the logo could lead to the disqualification of runners.
Speaking to VOC on Friday, Sue Gorge, the general manager of Western Province Athletics, said they received numerous submissions on the matter.
“It’s of utmost importance for us to find a resolution going forward. We met with Athletics SA twice and they promised us official communication by next week,” she said.
The lottery is considered to be a form of gambling and Islam strictly prohibits gambling.
Asked whether the debacle could have been avoided, Gorge said: “It goes much deeper than religious beliefs, as there are many personal concerns. We have a membership of almost 17 000 people of which there has been varied responses on the Lotto issue,” she said.
However, Zarina Brewer of Lion of Africa Itheko Athletics Club, said runners were also concerned that they will be disqualified should they cover up the logo.
“The same tissue happened three years and many runners were in opposition. When that happened, they were given permission to cover the logo. However, this time around, there is a disclaimer saying if you cover this logo, you will be disqualified,” she explained.
“At this moment, we have not received any formal response from Athletics SA. All we are asking is that we cover up the logo.”
The Western Province Athletics Board has taken a strong stance against the disqualification of runners. At the start of the Peninsula Marathon two weeks ago, WPAB announced they would not disqualify any runners for covering the logo.
Gorge added: “We’ve formulated a forum in which people can voice their opinions. They then officially communicated to Western Province athletics, which in turn is being collated and will be sent in one document to Athletics SA. There’s been a lot expressed on social media, which is also being sent to Athletics SA.”
National Lotteries Commission spokesman Thabang Mampane acknowledged the dilemma posed to Muslim runners.
“Athletics SA is a beneficiary of the NLC. The application and display of the logo is a requirement of the grant agreement with ASA. Refusal by the ASA to display the logo would be a violation of the agreement.” VOC