After the 2007 Comrades Marathon, Leonid Shvetsov, the reigning Comrades Marathon Champion and holder of both the Up and Down run records respectively for the race, instituted a legal claim against the CMA for allegedly reneging on the incentive offered for setting a new record.
Comrades Marathon | 1 Comment
During 2008 the athlete alleged through his legal representatives that the CMA failed to hand over the 50 ounce gold statue that was on offer, (sponsored by Harmony Gold) should a runner break the Comrades Marathon course record in 2007.
At the time the CMA stated that the organisation had received written confirmation from Harmony Gold (PTY) Ltd, a personal sponsor of Leonid Shvetsov, as well as a CMA commercial sponsor in 2007, and sponsor of the Harmony Gold Running Club to which he was contracted at the time, that they (Harmony Gold (Pty) Ltd) had paid Shvetsov an agreed cash equivalent amount in lieu of the gold statue, thereby fulfilling the incentive offered by the CMA for breaking the record, and Harmony Gold (Pty) Ltd fulfilling its commercial agreement with the CMA and the athlete that set a new record.
In the light of this the CMA has consistently maintained that the dispute was not between the CMA and Shetsov but between the Athlete and his Club, Harmony Gold Running Club. According to Shvetsov Harmony Gold Running Club allegedly promised him a cash incentive, over and above any incentives offered by the CMA, if he set a new Comrades Marathon course record; a cash incentive which he alleges was never paid to him by Harmony Gold Running Club. The CMA cannot comment on this agreement between the Athlete and his personal contracted running club.
Consequently, after lengthy discussions between the legal representatives of the various parties (CMA, Shvetsov and Harmony Gold), the matter was settled out of court when Harmony Gold (PTY) Ltd agreed to pay Leonid Shvetsov an undisclosed cash settlement amount on behalf of the then Harmony Gold Running Club for the incentive that was in agreement between the running club and Shvetsov.
Dave Dixon, (Comrades Marathon Association Chairman) wishes to state categorically that the organisation has never and will never willingly renege on any of its obligations towards its runners and other stakeholders, and that the organisation will continue to uphold the values of quality service delivery, excellence, transparency and integrity that they are world renowned for.
Gary Boshoff (CMA General Manager) said that “the CMA has absolutely nothing to do with any, and all negotiations or discussions that take place between professional athletes and the various running clubs that contract the athletes to run on their behalf each year.
“The CMA responsibilities are vested with preparing and staging a world class ultra marathon each year, and that the CMA has its own commercial programme that has to be managed to ensure that the commercial rights afforded to these partners are upheld and delivered. Furthermore that should a CMA commercial partner offer any incentive / s that are achieved by an individual running the Comrades Marathon, that the CMA will manage the process of the transaction between the commercial partner and the athlete and make sure that the incentive is given to the athlete concerned. This is exactly what happened in the Shvetsov case.”