FIFA in SA to probe alleged match fixing

Friday, March 2, 2012
Nthambeleni Gabara

Pretoria - A delegation from the world football governing body, FIFA, has arrived in South Africa to begin a probe into match fixing in southern Africa.

The delegation, led by FIFA Head of Security Chris Eaton, was welcomed by the South African Football Association (Safa) President Kirsten Nematandani on Thursday.

The FIFA investigation team will also probe match fixing allegations of Bafana Bafana's 2010 FIFA World Cup warm-up matches played against Guatemala and Colombia.

The fieldwork phase of the investigation team is expected to take four days, during which time they will engage with a number of key individuals.

FIFA will have open access to Safa's records that are relevant to the enquiry, which is based on the refereeing and outcome of the four friendly games that Bafana Bafana played in the final build up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

After careful consideration, Safa intervened and appointed their own officials to replace the international referees recruited and supplied by Footbal4U for the fifth and final friendly versus Denmark.

Nematandani said: "We are doing all we can to help FIFA resolve the issue regarding the Bafana games and to do all in our power to wipe out corrupt practices in football in South Africa, if there is any."

Safa chief executive officer Robin Petersen said: "Anyone who has not already been contacted, but who believes that they have material evidence to offer are invited to urgently contact my office."

Petersen said the names of the individuals who are meeting with FIFA are not being made available to the media and neither is the media invited to the 'in-camera' sessions in order to protect the integrity of the process.

"We have complete confidence in the integrity and thoroughness of the FIFA process and will assist in whatever way we can to get to the truth. We would also like to emphasise that SAFA is not, at this stage, undertaking a parallel process either internally or through an independent body.

"We trust that all parties will respect the FIFA process and allow it to reach its logical conclusion," he said.

Bafana beat Colombia 2-1 in a match dominated by penalties in May last year. It took penalty kicks from Teko Modise and Katlego Mphela to seal Bafana's victory, while Giovanni Moreno registered Columbia's single goal, also through a penalty.

Ten days before the kick-off of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Bafana beat Guatemala 5-0 in a match played at Peter Mokaba stadium in Limpopo.

The Guatemala friendly match was handled by Niger referee Ibrahim Chaibou, who is at the centre of match-fixing allegations in the friendly match between Nigeria and Argentina, which the Nigerians won 4-1.

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