Mbalula loses the Safa war

2013-04-07 10:00

Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula might have won the battle, but he lost the war in his attempt to get rid of the rot in the country’s football administration.

Following a visit to world governing body Fifa in Zurich, Switzerland, this week, Mbalula had to settle for a limited judicial commission of inquiry into match-fixing.

His visit was prompted by Fifa warning government not to interfere in the running of the sport.

The minister wanted a full-blown judicial probe into the affairs of the SA Football Association (Safa).

But it was not to be. Instead, the independent judicial commission will only investigate the match-fixing scandal of Bafana Bafana’s warm-up matches ahead of the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Fifa also ordered that its ethics chairman, Michael Garcia, should be part of the commission, which is yet to be set up.

A Fifa report on match-fixing handed to Safa late last year implicated some of the local governing body’s top executives, who were initially suspended but later reinstated.

The SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee asked Mbalula for a judicial commission after the release of the match-fixing report threatened the running of the sport.

The commission, which the minister supported, would have looked into alleged mishandling of the 2010 legacy funds, the match-fixing scandal and a damning dossier on irregularities at Safa.

The commission’s investigation would be nothing but a drop in the ocean in the bigger scope of things.

The question is: Do we really care who fixed friendly matches when the bigger crisis continues at Safa House?

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