Bafana match-fixers heads on the block

2012-12-16 10:00

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Heads are bound to roll at the SA Football Association (Safa) following an explosive 500-page report handed to them by world football governing body Fifa on Friday.

Safa CEO, Dr Robin Petersen, told City Press yesterday the emergency committee will meet today to map out the way to deal with the individuals fingered in the damning report.

He said, depending on the extent of their involvement, the sanctions could range from suspension to being banned for life from having anything to do with the game.

Members of the emergency committee are Safa president Kirsten Nematandani; his deputies Danny Jordaan, Irvin Khoza, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, Mandla Mazibuko; national executive committee member Alpha Mchunu; and Petersen.

Petersen said: “We are seeking legal advice on how to deal with the implicated individuals. I can assure you, we will act against them as we are extremely disappointed that we have been taken for a ride and that this will tarnish the name of Safa and Bafana.”

According to Petersen, Safa would follow due labour-law processes where people would appear before a disciplinary committee hearing.

“Everyone has a right to be heard. There are still missing parts of evidence and we need a more thorough investigation on our side to complete the process.”

He said they would not hesitate to deal with individuals who

were still in the employ of the association who are implicated in the report.

“Unfortunately there is nothing we can do with those who are no longer with us. The lesson we have learnt is to apply a simple principle of not allowing outside parties to organise or get involved with match officials. This will be done by the association,” said Petersen.

In a report that might have far-reaching consequences for local soccer, Fifa has confirmed that some Bafana matches prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup were fixed.

It goes on to accuse certain Safa officials of complicity in the matter.

Various Safa officials are said to have interacted with a bogus football development company, Football 4U, which was a front for an Asian-based betting syndicate headed by now-convicted match fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal.

According to Safa, the report recommends that “further examination” of these officials should take place to see whether or not these interactions transgressed Fifa and/or Safa disciplinary codes, and whether any of these officials did so with criminal intent in collusion with Football 4U.

At the heart of the Fifa investigation were matches organised by Safa in conjunction with Perumal, who has since been linked with a Malaysian match-fixing syndicate that has also implicated the Zimbabwe national football team.

Currently, Perumal is under house arrest in Hungary.

Included in matches under investigation were Bafana’s 4-0 triumph over Thailand and their 2-1 victory over Colombia on May 27 2010, with all Bafana’s goals coming from penalties,

one of which had to be retaken.

The two matches were overseen by officials from Kenya: Samwel Langat, Elias Kuloba and David Sagero.

The other fixed matches were against Guatemala, Bulgaria and Denmark.

The Guatemala match saw three penalties awarded by Niger referee Ibrahim Chaibou, who has attracted controversy in the past for suspicious betting patterns in a match he officiated between Nigeria and Argentina.

Chaibou is currently suspended by Fifa.

Football4U organised referees for these matches.

In October, the Zimbabwean Football Association (Zifa) banned 15 individuals for life from “all football-related activities” for their alleged involvement in the Asiagate match-fixing scandal.

This week, former Bafana technical staff member Phil Setshedi was found guilty of match-fixing in the Bellville Commercial Crimes Court in Cape Town.

The former Orlando Pirates coach was charged for attempting to influence the outcome of a Second Division Vodacom play-off match held in Cape Town last year.

The case has been postponed to February 11 next year for pre-sentence hearings.

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