Back off, Fifa tell SA govt

2013-04-19 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Global football body Fifa has distanced itself from an inquiry into the SA Football Association’s (Safa) finances and internal affairs.

This emerged yesterday from a letter from Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke to Safa president Kirsten Nematandani and Sport Minister Fikile Mbalula.

Valcke said he had not agreed for the South African government to set up an inquiry into anything other than match fixing.

“During our meeting, it was decided that an independent judicial commission of inquiry would be set up by the South African government, whose mandate would be limited to investigating the irregularities related to friendly matches prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

“Additionally, Fifa proposed that one of the members of the commission be Michael J. Garcia, the [chairperson] of the investigatory chamber of the Fifa ethics committee,” Valcke wrote.

Valcke met Mbalula and Nematandani in Zurich earlier this month.

He said any issues aside from the global body’s report into alleged corruption ahead of the World Cup should be dealt with by Safa, and not the government.

“Otherwise this would constitute interference in the internal affairs of Safa by a third party and would clearly violate the principles contained in articles 13 and 17 of the Fifa statutes.”

In a joint statement on Wednesday, the sport ministry and the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) said Safa had been on a downward spiral since the 2010 global showpiece.

“Safa has been making headlines for all the wrong reasons.

“Football-loving South Africans have been exposed to diatribes and serious allegations,” they said.

A long list of allegations included match-fixing, inappropriate use and disbursement of the Fifa legacy trust funds, and corruption, were highlighted in an anonymous document dropped off at Sascoc’s office in Johannesburg.

A KPMG report into Safa’s finances revealed the football body was R92 million in the red and on the brink of bankruptcy.

• No decision has been taken by President Jacob Zuma to establish a commission of inquiry into the alleged problems in SA football.

The Minister of Sport and Recreation, Mr Fikile Mbalula, has written to the president requesting such intervention in terms of Section 84 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.

The matter is still being looked into, and such consideration will take into account the relevant legal framework and protocols governing football, domestic and international.

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