Safa to face judicial inquiry over alleged match-fixing

2013-04-05 14:04

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A judicial inquiry will be conducted into alleged 2010 soccer match-fixing in South Africa, the sports ministry has said.

“An independent judicial commission of inquiry will be set up by the South African government,” the ministry said in a statement today.

“The mandate of this judicial investigation will be limited to matters related to the case of irregularities related to friendly matches of the SA Football Association (Safa) in the build-up to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.”

Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula, Safa president Kirsten Nematandani, and Fifa secretary-general Jerome Valcke met on the issue in Zurich, Switzerland, today.

They discussed allegations of corruption regarding warm-up matches ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

The global soccer governing body proposed that the judicial entity of the Fifa ethics committee form part of the inquiry.

While the proposal was backed by Safa and Mbalula, it was subject to constitutional approval by government.

Valcke said: “This long-standing open case is harming South African football.”

It was vital for the matter to be concluded soon, and for the culprits to be sanctioned.

“At the same time, it is critical that structures are set up in order to tackle similar cases, should they happen in the future,” Valcke said.

Nematandani said he would present the proposal to the Safa executive committee on Saturday for approval.

Five Safa officials, including Nematandani and acting chief executive Dennis Mumble, were suspended in December after they were implicated in the Fifa probe.

The Safa national executive committee later reversed the decision and reinstated the senior staffers in January following a meeting with Mbalula.

While Safa had wanted an independent inquiry to investigate the Fifa report, Mbalula wanted a judicial commission in place.

“The rise of match manipulation globally has become one of the most pressing issues facing football today,” Mbalula said.

“I understand fully that Fifa’s powers to tackle this problem are ultimately limited.

“Therefore it is vitally important that national authorities, such as ourselves, play a full role.

“I firmly believe today’s (Friday) meeting is a major step in bringing to a close an episode that has damaged South African football.”

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