Safa president may get the chop – again

2013-02-17 10:00

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SA Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani could be suspended yet again, a month after being reinstated.

This comes at a time when the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) has requested a meeting with Safa.

Sascoc wants to discuss the match-fixing report and the 2010 Fifa World Cup legacy funds.

“Yes, we’ve requested a meeting with Safa and we suggested either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday,” Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy said yesterday.

City Press has reliably learnt that Safa’s legal and constitutional affairs committee, which was handling the Fifa match-fixing scandal, will recommend that Nematandani and two staff members – Adeel Carelse and Lindile “Ace” Kika – be suspended again.

The recommendation is that Carelse and Kika must be canned by the administration led by acting chief executive Dennis Mumble, as they are employees.

Nematandani can only be suspended by the national executive committee (NEC) as he is an elected leader.

It is not clear what action would be taken against the other two members – Mumble and Barney Kujane – who were also mentioned in the Fifa report.

The recommendations will be tabled at the NEC meeting on Saturday.

Last month, the NEC reversed the decision of the emergency committee to suspend the five and handed the matter to the association’s legal committee.

The committee’s chairperson, Poobie Govindasamy, said his team was ready to submit its recommendations.

“It’s highly confidential and I cannot divulge anything at the moment. We were rectifying the mistakes that the emergency committee made because it had no powers to suspend anyone. This time we followed the right and fair process, which is in line with the Safa constitution and statutes,” said Govindasamy.

However, City Press has been informed by a committee member who sat in the meeting that they were divided over what action to take.

Some members felt they did not have the capacity to deal with it and wanted it referred to Sascoc for further investigation.

The member painted a picture of a committee that was not as independent as they have made people believe.

He argued the committee could not be player and referee at the same time.

Said the source: “There are lots of outstanding issues that the committee has failed to deal with. For instance, we still don’t know why Mumble reported the matter to Fifa or who gave him the mandate to do so – and now, surprisingly, his name is missing. This is a clear witch-hunt.”

However, Jan Koopman, chairperson of the security, protocol and fair play committee, denied this, saying they had robust debates as members sought clarity. He said 17 of the 19 members attended the meeting, which lasted for about four hours.

Koopman said the meeting made about five recommendations that would be tabled before the NEC.

“We were united in the decisions we made, this time following the right procedure. Unfortunately, we are sworn to secrecy and I can’t reveal more,” said Koopman.

After City Press made enquiries, all the legal committee members were called by a Safa staff member and were told not to comment any further on the matter.

But the source said it was all about a power play leading to Safa’s elections in September.

The source continued: “They just want to use the president as a scapegoat as they want him out of the way. He is seen as a stumbling block. By suspending him, they will be able to do as they wish.”

In December, Fifa released a report about the alleged rigging of four Bafana matches in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup.

Among the matches under investigation were friendlies played by South Africa – one against Guatemala, the other against Colombia – in May 2010, a fortnight before the World Cup began.

Nematandani, Mumble, Kika, Carelse and Kujane were suspended after Fifa found “compelling evidence” that friendly internationals were fixed by a Singaporean betting syndicate.

They were asked to “take a voluntary leave of absence” pending an internal investigation into allegations they colluded to rig matches with convicted fixer Wilson Raj Perumal from now discredited company Football4U.

This week Nematandani refused to comment on the match-fixing scandal, saying it was a sideshow. He referred all enquiries to Govindasamy.

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