SA Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan allegedly manipulated the match-fixing investigation to advance his presidential ambitions.
This, according to a report by disgruntled former Safa head of referees Adeel Carelse, was done by discrediting then president Kirsten Nematandani ahead of the 2013 elections.
Nematandani and four other Safa officials, including Carelse, were suspended in December 2012 by a Safa emergency committee after they were fingered by Fifa in a match-fixing investigation report. But their suspensions were lifted by the Safa national executive committee a month later.
A tarnished Nematandani lost his position after he failed to garner enough nominations from Safa regions. Jordaan then beat his sole rival Mandla “Shoes” Mazibuko in last year’s elections.
Yesterday, Safa said it “rejects with contempt these wild, speculative and completely unsubstantiated and libellous allegations made by a disgruntled former employee who was dismissed in 2013”.
In a report submitted to the SA Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) last month, Carelse called for Jordaan’s suspension and wanted an inquiry into the claims.
He also fingered erstwhile Safa vice-president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, former chief executive Robin Petersen and Fifa investigator Chris Eaton – who compiled the match-fixing report – for alleged collusion and bringing the football body into disrepute.
“It is highly probable that Danny Jordaan, Mwelo Nonkonyana, Robin Petersen, Steve Goddard [former head of Safa referees] and Chris Eaton are all complicit in bring [sic] SA sport in disrepute and, as such, it is requested that all of them, with the exception of Chris Eaton, be suspended and charged under Article 29 of the Sascoc constitution for doing so, pending a full investigation,” said Carelse’s report.
Sascoc chief executive Tubby Reddy confirmed receipt of Carelse’s report and said he forwarded it to Safa to respond.
“The onus is on him [Carelse] to prove the allegations. Mr Carelse knows the full picture because this thing came to the public and was addressed to the minister of sport, who then also escalated to the higher level. Indications were that it would have been investigated but then Fifa said they would do the investigation. And, recently, they have asked for the submission from certain individuals.
“There is nothing we can do as it is in Fifa’s hands,” said Reddy.
Yesterday, Safa’s written response said Carelse had made his submissions when he appeared before the Fifa match-fixing investigation.
“His latest fabricated conspiracy theory comes after Safa confirmed 2014 as the most successful year in its history, under the leadership of its president, Dr Danny Jordaan. At the time of the match-fixing issue, neither of the two individuals referred to in the allegations, Dr Jordaan and Dr Petersen, were in the employ of Safa. Dr Jordaan was running the Fifa 2010 World Cup Organising Committee, and Dr Petersen was not employed in football at all at the time,” said Safa.
“Dr Jordaan was appointed as Safa vice-president only in December 2010. Dr Petersen was appointed as Safa CEO in August 2011, and appointed as CEO of the Safa Development Agency on November 14 2012 [one month prior to the release of the Fifa Report].”
The response further said it was not worth refuting any of the allegations contained in the report individually because the “list of factual inaccuracies in this article are so numerous”.
Safa is looking into taking legal action against the individual, the statement read.
“To even publish Carelse’s allegations would therefore be reckless and unfair and would lend credence to unsubstantiated conjecture, which would further defame Safa, Dr Jordaan and Dr Petersen – and which is unnecessary to do.
“We would therefore take a reasonable approach and allow the legal process, which Safa will follow and which Dr Jordaan and Dr Petersen reserve the right to follow in light of Carelse’s defamatory and false publication.”
But Carelse stuck to his guns, saying he was even prepared to undergo a polygraph test. Asked why he had made the claims only now, he said it had taken him a while to compile his report.
“Some of us were used as pawns because the biggest fish was Kirsten. The truth must come out. I wanted a commission of inquiry to be appointed so we could all have our day there,” he said.
“Remember, Danny failed in his bid to win [the elections] in Cosafa and also in CAF, and he wanted to go to Fifa and the only way to get there was to be the Safa president.”
Last week, Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke said during his visit to the country that four people had been invited to do present themselves to the global footballing body’s ethics committee.
Carelse’s response was that he had “enough evidence to suggest that Fifa and Safa is [sic] complicit in this matter, and that a master cover-up is under way in collaboration with the Fifa security department”.