Mandela charity withdraws from golf tourney over Burma links

Nov 1, 2007 (AFP), The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund has withdrawn its involvement in the yearly Nelson Mandela Invitational Golf Tournament, fund officials said Wednesday.

This follows the controversy surrounding one of the tournament’s participants and host, legendary golfer Gary Player, over his business involvement in Burma.

"As a result of our withdrawal the tournament can no longer be called the Nelson Mandela Invitational and should not be marketed as such in any form whatsoever," SAPA news agency quoted the Fund as saying in a statement.

"Of prime concern to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund is the protection of our founder’s name, Nelson Mandela, and our associate organizations from the current controversy".

A few weeks ago the 72-year-old Player came under fire from Mandela’s fellow South African Nobel peace prize winner Desmond Tutu over his company’s construction of a golf club in Burma, with Tutu requesting that organisers withdraw the multiple majors winner from the fund-raising tournament to be held in November in the Western Cape.

"Consequently, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund would regrettably not be able to receive the benefits of the event nor any income derived from the event."

Player had defended himself by saying that his company had built the Pun Hlaing course in 2002 at a time when the military junta had temporarily released pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi from house arrest.

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