Match-fixing red alert

2014-04-27 15:00

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The Premier Soccer League (PSL) will keep a close eye on the remaining Absa Premiership fixtures for any suspicious activity during the last two match days, warned the league’s chairperson, Irvin Khoza.

It has already surfaced that there is a whiff of illegal activities in the games involving relegation-threatened teams and those bidding for the top eight positions.

Only the top three teams are guaranteed a top-eight finish.

“We cannot rule out anything at this stage as it is always around this time of the season when these allegations surface.

There is a lot at stake and we have to be vigilant. If the allegations can be tested, we will launch an immediate investigation,” Khoza told City Press on Friday.

He said the league has not been informed of any dodgy dealings, and added: “One of the reasons we decided to play the fixtures simultaneously was to eliminate the risk of match-fixing.

“It would not have been fair for some clubs to play knowing the outcome of other matches.”

The PSL will also put the five teams languishing at the bottom of the log – as all are dicing with relegation – under the microscope during their last games of the season.

Any of the bottom five teams face possible relegation or a place in the play-offs should they lose their remaining games.

Yesterday, second from the bottom Free State Stars’ 3-2 loss to Mpumalanga Black Aces means that tailenders Golden Arrows could still avoid automatic relegation if they win their games against AmaZulu and Orlando Pirates.

Stars have tougher assignments as they will face the three Soweto giants – Kaizer Chiefs, Pirates and Moroka Swallows.

Other teams fighting to avoid the chop are Polokwane City, Swallows and University of Pretoria.

A demotion to the National First Division means teams will lose out on the handsome R1.5?million monthly PSL grant.

At the top, the contest is a two-horse race between Mamelodi Sundowns and Chiefs, while the other top eight spots are still up for grabs.

The last two rounds will be played on May?6 and May?10, all at the same time.

Khoza said the league would also make sure all the important matches were broadcast live on TV.

He said they have also encouraged match officials to report any approaches from clubs or people purporting to be acting on behalf of clubs.

“We will not hesitate to take action against anyone or any club found to be involved in match-fixing attempts.”

Khoza conceded that drawing up fixtures for the ongoing Premiership campaign proved to be challenging because of the impact of PSL teams’ participation in CAF competitions as well as the African Nations Championship that South Africa hosted early this year.

Pirates, Chiefs and SuperSport United were involved in continental tournaments, which resulted in the shuffling of their domestic league fixtures.

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