Sport

Safa rocked as Fifa uncovers match-fixing in pre-World Cup games

Sapa

A Fifa investigation has uncovered a criminal web of match-fixing syndicates that operated in SA during pre-World Cup 2010 friendly matches.

Safa chief executive Robin Petersen. (Gallo)

The South African Football Association (Safa) executive will meet on Sunday to discuss a Fifa report on match-fixing, Safa spokesperson Dominic Chimhavi said.

"The Safa Emergency Committee met on Friday morning to receive the summary report, and to discuss the appropriate action to take," Chimhavi said by statement on Saturday.

"Given that the full report had not yet been received, and also the complexity of the issues raised in the summary report and their possible implications, the meeting was adjourned to Sunday."

The report, completed by the former Head of Security for Fifa, Chris Eaton, followed an investigation undertaken by Fifa into pre-World Cup 2010 international friendly matches.

The investigation, which began in March, was instigated at the request of Safa in October last year, when speculation around the matches and the role of a possible international match-fixing syndicate arose.

Eaton addressed whether one or more of the matches in question were fixed, and found compelling evidence to support the theory.

He outlined the workings of a bogus football development company, called Football 4U, which was a front for an Asian-based betting syndicate headed up by now-convicted match fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal.

Perumal and Football 4U managed to infiltrate Safa prior to the World Cup, with an offer to assist with referee development.

The offer included providing Fifa-accredited referees at their cost for the friendly matches prior to the Fifa 2010 World Cup.

The report identified various Safa officials who interacted with Football 4U, and Eaton recommended "further examination" of those officials.

"It is apparent from the report that the decision to ask Fifa to investigate this matter was the correct one, as the full extent of the web of international crime is now exposed," Safa chief executive Robin Petersen said.

"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." – Sapa.

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