Match-fixing investigation damp squib

2014-11-30 17:00

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Fifa has no jurisdiction over those no longer in football

The old adage that justice delayed is justice denied could come into play in the SA Football Association (Safa) match-fixing scandal regarding Bafana Bafana’s 2010 World Cup warm-up matches.

Top legal experts told City Press Fifa had no jurisdiction over people who no longer belong to any football structure.

This comes as head of national teams Lindile “Ace” Kika, who is one of five Safa officials named in a Fifa report on the matter, resigned this week.

Others no longer with Safa are former president Kirsten Nematandani, former head of referees Adeel Carelse, another referee boss Steve Goddard and former chief executive officer Leslie Sedibe.

Five Safa officials – Nematandani, Kika, Carelse, acting chief executive Dennis Mumble and Bafana Bafana manager Barney Kujane – were suspended in December 2012 after they were mentioned in the match-fixing report.

But their suspensions were reversed and they were reinstated a month later.

Kujane and Mumble are the only remaining officials who were named in that report.

Two weeks ago, Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke said four officials who were implicated in the report had been asked to make representations to Fifa’s ethics committee.

He said closing the issue as soon as possible was in the best interest of all concerned.

Michael Murphy, an expert in sports law, said it would be difficult for Fifa to summon those outside football circles. He said the only way to go about it would be to use laws of the land to open criminal charges if there was a case to answer.

“Fifa has no jurisdiction over any private individual and cannot subpoena them. Fifa can only sanction people who are attached to clubs or associations as they are affiliates of Fifa. It is difficult but not impossible depending on the matter. Let’s say they feel there’s a case to answer for these individuals; they should lay criminal charges using laws of the land.”

Zola Majavu, a prosecutor who was a PSL chief executive, said: “I don’t think they have any jurisdiction. That is why it would have been better to have a judicial commission established by the president. That body would have subpoena powers.”

Fifa’s ethics committee already made contact with Carelse earlier this month, but he said he was not sure if he would attend after he sent them a long list of questions.

He has also called for a judicial commission of inquiry “so the truth can come out”.

Goddard said he has been in contact with the Fifa investigators and said he was still waiting to hear from them. Nematandani said he had not heard anything from the committee, but he would want the opportunity to clear his name. Efforts to contact Kika and Sedibe failed.

Safa refused to comment and referred questions to Fifa, which said: “The ethics committee is an independent judicial body and is composed of two separate chambers – an investigatory chamber independent from the adjudicatory chamber. In line with this independence, Fifa does not have any influence over the writing of investigatory reports or over the findings of any investigations. Furthermore, we cannot provide you with a timeframe on any matter solely handled by the ethics committee.”

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