Player, official nabbed for match-fixing

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(File)
(File)

Johannesburg - The ABC Motsepe League has been rocked by yet another allegation of match-fixing in an ongoing corruption scandal.

City Press has learnt that a club captain and a club official were arrested last weekend during the game between log leaders Maccabi FC and Vaal Professionals at Dick Fourie Stadium in Vereeniging in Gauteng.

It is alleged that the club official approached an opposition player and asked him to sway the game in their favour. The visiting side, Maccabi, won 3-1.

Morning of game

A source, who witnessed everything, said match officials from Limpopo were taken by surprise when a warrant officer appeared on the field to effect the arrest.

“At this time of the season there are cross-border appointments, and the officials came all the way from Giyani. They didn’t even know which game they were going to officiate, as they were told to converge at Safa House on the morning of the game,” said the source, who did not want to be identified.

He said all hell broke loose when the two teams were warming up.

“One of the officials from Vaal approached the match officials and told them they were going to play the game under protest. The official alleged that one of their players was approached during the week to help the other team win the game.

“That is when a gentleman in civilian clothes approached them and introduced himself as a warrant officer from Vereeniging Police Station.

“The complainant pointed out one of the players, who was warming up, and an official. Both were arrested on the spot.”

Tip of iceberg

Safa’s legal manager, Tebogo Motlanthe, confirmed the incident. He said Vaal Professionals had since lodged a complaint.

“Vaal Pros have lodged an official complaint against Maccabi to say they had influenced the outcome of the game; they say they have evidence to that effect. All we know is that people were arrested. We are also carrying out our investigations,” said Motlanthe.

He said the matter would be taken to a disciplinary committee hearing before the end of the week.

Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said this was the tip of the iceberg, but indicated that the association was on top of the situation.

“We are working with the Hawks to stamp out corruption ... and we will soon reveal more,” he said.

Vereeniging police spokesperson Captain Fikile Funda confirmed two suspects were arrested last Saturday and were released on R1 000 bail each, adding that the case was postponed for further investigation.

Transaction

“The prosecutor gave us 14 days to arrest the third suspect. What happened is that three people approached two Vaal players and offered them       R2 000 to throw the game. But our Organised Crime Unit got a tip-off that there was going to be a transaction at the corner of Voortrekker and Market streets in Vereeniging on March 15, and followed that up.

“Three unknown people delivered the money and our unit interviewed only the people at the scene. A case of corruption and bribery was opened with the R2 000 as exhibit,” said Funda.

He said two suspects were arrested last Saturday and the police were looking for the third suspect.

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