Wed Oct 18 16:35:56 SAST 2017

Safa to crack whip on scam

2012-12-16 20:49:14.0 | KGOMOTSO SETHUSHA |

HEADS are set to roll at Safa following shocking evidence linking officials to fixing Bafana Bafana friendlies prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

TALKING TOUGH: Safa president Kirsten Nematandani unveiling Robin Petersen the new Safa chief executive officer, in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Picture by Veli Nhlapo

 Heads to roll over match fixing 

A Fifa report, which confirms long-held suspicions that Bafana games were rigged through a "bogus" football company, Football4U, is said to have caused great consternation among high-ranking Safa officials.

The report - which was compiled by Fifa's former head of security Chris Eaton, and has been handed over to members of the Safa emergency committee - identifies the Safa officials suspected of being accessories to the match-fixing scam through their interaction with Football4U.

Football4U is a front for an Asian-based betting syndicate headed by convicted match fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal.

Even though "further examination" of the report, which is expected to establish the criminal intent on the part of the identified officials, is yet to take place, Sunday World understands the explosive document has left Safa officials on tenterhooks.

A Safa official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the match-fixers could not have acted alone.

"The report identifies Safa officials and the impression out there is that the association harbours criminals and corrupt elements. Safa is definitely going to take action against those involved and send out a strong message."

Safa chief executive Robin Petersen concurred: "The report identifies various Safa officials who interacted with Football4U, and recommends that further examination of these officials should take place to see whether or not these interactions transgressed Fifa and or Safa disciplinary codes, and whether any of these officials did so with criminal intent in collusion with Football4U.

"Given that the full report has not yet been received and the complexity of the issues raised in the summary report and their possible implications, the Safa Emergency Committee meeting was adjourned from Friday to Sunday (today), to allow members to study the report and its findings, as well as seek further legal opinion as to the way forward.

"After taking appropriate legal advice and following due process, we will take action against all who are found to have acted improperly or criminally in this matter.

"We have consistently stated, and now will demonstrate, that Safa will not tolerate corruption of any form, or poor governance around compliance with Fifa and Safa statutes and regulations."

It was back in October 2011 that Safa requested that an investigation into possible match-fixing, following speculation around the matches against Guatemala and Colombia, which Bafana won 5-0 and 2-1 respectively ahead of the World Cup.

Suspicion was further raised after Bafana thrashed Thailand 4-0 and played to a 1-all draw with Bulgaria as they wrapped up preparations for the World Cup.

Niger referee Ibrahim Chaibou awarded two suspicious penalties for handball in Bafana's and Guatemala match on May 31, decisions which have since been established as incorrect.

There was also doubt over goals in Bafana's match against Colombia on May 27, and further suspicion was raised after Carlos Alberto Parreira's team thrashed Thailand 4-0.

Safa had already became suspicious of the referees taking charge of some of Bafana's match against Denmark and summarily replaced Chaibou at short notice for the match South Africa won 1-0 in June 2010.

"Having cooperated with Fifa during their investigation, we are happy that this matter is coming to its conclusion, and our commitment to zero tolerance to corruption is well documented. Safa remains totally committed to working with Fifa to wipe out the scourge of corruption that is impacting on football globally," added Safa president Kirsten Nematandani.

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