Fikile Mbalula wants answers on Fifa match-fixing saga

2014-09-03 11:23

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Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has assured MPs that he will seek answers from Fifa about its probe into match-fixing.

Called before the parliamentary portfolio committee yesterday, Mbalula said he would write to the global football body and request a progress report and a timeline.

“Fifa needs to give us direction. The investigation is in their hands. I won’t tell you lies and say I have got time frames. We don’t … We have had no communication from Fifa. We need feedback,” he said, thanking the committee for “reviving” the issue and undertaking to raise their concerns with Fifa.

Mbalula said the match-fixing investigation was out of the hands of South African authorities after Fifa assumed control and undertook to investigate. In March, President Jacob Zuma announced that he would not establish a commission of inquiry as planned because Fifa had informed South Africa it was now investigating.

South Africa was warned not to interfere with the powerful international sports authority and had to “back off”, said Mbalula.

Subsequently, the suspensions against a number of South African Football Association (Safa) officials were also lifted, Mbalula confirmed yesterday.

He said he suspected that some form of “malicious compliance” by the former executive of Safa had something to do with the sudden U-turn by Fifa.

The committee gave Mbalula his full backing in seeking answers. At the same time, it reserved its right to take the extraordinary step of calling the powerful global football body to Parliament as proposed by chairperson Beauty Dlulane a few weeks ago.

Reporting back to the committee last month, Safa head Danny Jordaan said if the committee went ahead to call Fifa to Parliament, he would write a letter in support.

“We want to bring an end to this matter,” said Jordaan.

The match-fixing saga has been dragging on since October 2011 when Fifa was requested to investigate suspected rigged matches in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup.

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