Safa scandal an opportunity

2012-12-23 10:00

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A running joke in the City Press newsroom when planning the sports pages goes like this: “What’s rocking Safa this week?”

When Fifa issued its match-fixing report, a colleague quipped: “Now Safa is really rocked, shaken and stirred.”

This is a very serious matter that has seen president Kirsten Nematandani and others being put on a “leave of absence”.

While the report is expected to have far-reaching consequences that can permanently change the face of South African football, some positives might emerge. If everybody concerned, from those in government down

to Safa’s leadership, can clearly apply their minds, this might turn out to be a golden opportunity to purge local football of its negative stigma for good.

For ages, football has been carrying this image – first by being run by thugs who bullied their way around, then by suspicions

of people being in the game for the sole purpose of lining their pockets.

Whispers of match-fixing in the local game have been a permanent feature with very little being proven. Fingers have been continuously pointed to the “untouchables” as the ringleaders in this practice.

Now that Fifa has come out and pointed to anomalies, these need to be followed up thoroughly, even with a judicial commission

of inquiry and forensic audit if need be.

Those found guilty should be dealt with severely so as to set an example for anyone considering such actions in future. The loud and clear message to government and football authorities is: don’t miss this opportunity!

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