Fifa calls Safa ‘culprits’ on Bafana match-fixing

Four people who were implicated in the Bafana Bafana match-fixing scandal have been asked to make representations to Fifa’s ethics committee.

This was revealed by Fifa secretary-general Jérôme Valcke during his visit to South Africa this week.

Five SA Football Association (Safa) officials – former president Kirsten Nematandani, CEO Dennis Mumble, Ace Kika, Barney Kujane and Adeel Carelse – were implicated in the Fifa probe of Bafana warm-up games ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

But Valcke refused to reveal the names of those who have been asked to make a representation.

Although he conceded the investigation had taken far too long, Valcke was optimistic it would come to an end as the world football governing body sought closure on the scandal.

But he said the ethics committee had been kept busy by the investigation of the Russia 2018 and Qatar 2022 World Cup bidding processes.

He added that now that the report was out, he hoped they would concentrate on the match-fixing scandal.

Valcke might have spoken too soon on the Russia and Qatar issue being over because a new storm has erupted.

Former US Attorney-General Michael Garcia’s 430-page report on the issue was condensed into a 42-page summary by German Judge Hans-Joachim Eckert. In effect, it cleared Fifa for the way it conducted both bidding processes, but raised questions about the conduct of Football Federation Australia and the English Football Association.

But Garcia cried foul and said the published report contained “numerous materially incomplete and erroneous representations of the facts and conclusions detailed in the investigatory chamber’s report”.

He said his findings had been “misrepresented” and immediately reported Eckert, who chairs the Fifa adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee, to the appeals committee.

Valcke said closing the South African matter as soon as possible was in the best interests of all concerned.

“Four individuals have been asked to make representations and we are confident we will get closure soon. It is not fair because it has been more than four years and if there are sanctions, so be it – or if they are cleared, then it should be the case,” said Valcke.

“We cannot keep this case open with so many names involved, and we have to clear people if they are to be cleared. We have to find out exactly what happened, to find out if someone has really done something on purpose.”

Valcke said the South African government had expected the matter to be speedily dealt with when it handed it to Fifa.

“Our commitment is to make sure that this story is closed soon. We will bring to the South African authorities the results of our investigations as soon as they are closed.”

Nematandani said he could not wait to be called because he wanted to clear his name.

“Justice delayed is justice denied and this has taken so long. I want to clear my name and move on with my life,” said Nematandani.

Carelse said he had not been contacted. If asked to appear before the committee, he was not sure if he would do so, he said. Mumble said he could not talk about the issue.

Former Safa CEO Leslie Sedibe, who was in charge of administration when the scandal happened, has approached the police to investigate.

His request for Public Protector Thuli Madonsela to investigate the allegations was unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, Safa announced on Friday that the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court had convicted and sentenced one of its former referees, Clifford Malgas, on two counts of corruption and perjury.

This was related to his role in attempted match-fixing during the 2011 Safa Second Division play-offs in Cape Town.

According to the statement, Malgas was sentenced to an effective four years behind bars – two for corruption and another two for perjury.

“The court convicted the disgraced official following overwhelming evidence that he colluded with convicted criminal Philemon Setshedi, who himself was convicted and sentenced for corruption in 2013.”

Safa president Danny Jordaan said: “We welcome this custodial sentence as it sends a strong message to criminals that they do not have a place in our sport.”

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