United linked to ref scandal

2009-03-01 00:00

A REPORT in a weekend newspaper has linked Premier Soccer League team Maritzburg United to a refereeing scandal.

The report in the Sunday Times yesterday alleged that two match officials had come forward ahead of two of relegation-threatened Maritzburg United’s games in recent months, one home and one away. The officials asserted they were approached by people claiming to be representatives of United, and were asked to fix the games.

Responding to the story United chairman Farouk Kadodia said he was surprised and annoyed that the Sunday Times made “a sensational exclusive of a very old story”.

“In October or November the league told us that they had received a report that a Maritzburg United official had approached a match official before our game against Platinum Stars [a 2-2 draw at Woodburn Stadium on November 16] to try to fix a game. And we said to the league that if they could tell us who that person was we would fire them immediately.

“The match official alleged someone had approached him but couldn’t identify anyone. We were informed that there would be no investigation because there was insufficient evidence to support the claim and I ignored the whole thing and had forgotten about it until the report in the Sunday Times,” Kadodia said.

Two match officials, a referee and an assistant referee, are believed to have come forward to authorities alleging they were approached to fix matches. The assistant referee was replaced for the game against Platinum Stars, but the referee was not replaced.

The SA Football Association did not proceed with the investigation because e-mails and phone calls from the alleged people who approached the match officials could not be traced.

Ari Soldatos, chairman of the referees’ appointment committee, could not be reached yesterday to confirm that the match officials had come forward.

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