Safa president implicated in match-fixing scandal

Safa president Kirsten Nematandani has been put on voluntary leave of absence after his name was mentioned in a Fifa report about match fixing involving Bafana Bafana matches.

Other Safa officials who have been implicated are Dennis Mumble, Ace Kika, Adeel Carelse and Barney Kujane. They have also been suspended pending the outcome of the investigations.

Five Bafana friendly matches prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup came under the spotlight and according to the Fifa report there is prima facie evidence that they were rigged.

As a result of the Fifa report, Safa is going to institute a commission of inquiry, led by a retired judge, to fully investigate the matter and the mentioned members.

This was disclosed by acting Safa president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana at an urgent press conference today.

The decision to suspend Nematandani and the four staff members was taken by Safa’s Emergency Committee, according to Nonkonyana.

“The committee felt that the president would have to appear before the commission to explain his role in the matter,” said Nonkonyana.

He said it emerged in the report “that there had been a contact between the syndicate – Football4U – and the president after the syndicate wrote a letter suggesting there had been meetings between the two parties and the president had given a go-ahead”.

He said former chief executive Leslie Sedibe and former head of referees Steve Goddard will also be asked to give evidence and cooperate with the inquiry.

“This is a difficult situation for the association and for those who have been named in the report. We hope that there will be no speculation about their presumed guilt or otherwise. We also need to allow the investigation to take place speedily and fairly, so those that are innocent can be separated from those who are not,” said Nonkonyana.

“There is evidence that one official was given some money.”

Nonkonyana added that none of the Bafana players were mentioned in the report.

He said he had been mandated to open a criminal case with the Hawks and the South African Police Services to investigate the matter further.

Nematandani refused to comment.

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