Blowing The Whistle On Corruption

SOCCER: Ray Nxumalo

A WHISTLEMAN who has lost the respect of players and officials is not worthy of officiating at a game whose result may endanger lives of spectators, the players themselves and further tarnish the image of a game so bedevilled by scandals.

The image of soccer is soiled in the eyes of spectators; we have officials allegedly involved in car-theft rackets, claims of referees being on the payroll of certain clubs and prominent administrators who deal in and take white powder as well as other mind-impairing drugs. There was also the shooting incident inside First National Bank stadium — the headquarters of football — involving an official of the now defunct Dangerous Darkies.

It is time for a clean administration and for all forms of corruption to be weeded out. Unless this is achieved the spectators will not come to fill our grounds. For they have a suspicion that certain games are fixed and such fears cannot be easily brushed aside.


The devolution of powers and allocation of duties also leave a lot to be desired. Before the infamous 1985 soccer split, the catch phrase that was punted around was that former National Professional Soccer League strongman George Thabe held too many poweful positions.

Today, one cannot help but notice that the very selfsame well-meaning member of the powerful trio who ousted Thabe is himself wearing more hats than Thabe.

No matter how bad they may paint the NPSL, one thing stands out: there was no corruption on the scale as endemic to the NSL and there were not as many cover-ups as we have today. The in-fighting and backstabbing in the NSL can only lead to the demise of the soccer as many people are switching allegiance to other sporting codes.

A lot of people are complaining about the so-called practice of “cheque-book” soccer. Many articles appeared in the press highlighting the practice of bribing referees. Who has ever been punished?

Problems occur on the field, too. We believe referee Ian MacLeod is a man of integrity. But one is forced to ask: Why is there always crowd trouble in matches he handles?

Remember the Rand stadium debacle when Jeff Butler, then Kaizer Chiefs coach, stormed onto the pitch and kicked the ball away from David Nyathi, then playing for arch-rivals Orlando Pirates? Macleod took no action, saying he was avoiding a riot.

Then there was last year’s Bob-Save Superbowl semi-final fiasco involving Chiefs, Pirates and MacLeod. It is now history that too little time was played and that MacLeod was unconstitutionally appointed to officiate at that game.

Just last week at Tembisa, when Pirates played Aces, the situation got so out of hand that we saw Aces’ Adam Mabena landing a vicious blow and cutting Innocent Buthelezi’s nose. What action followed thereafter? From where I was positioned none that was consistent with the gravity of the offence.

It was a sad and shameful day for soccer when seats at the FNB stadium were set alight. To ensure that a similar or worse incident — like the Orkney tragedy — does not happen again, the whole administration of the NSL needs to be revamped and referees must refrain from doing certain clubs favours. That is killing the game.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Related stories

2019: The ones who left us

From Uyinene Mrwetyana, Oliver Mtukudzi to Xolani Gwala, Mail & Guardian remembers those who have passed on

More battles ahead for domestic worker unions

Florence Sosiba, speaks to the Mail & Guardian about how important domestic workers are and exclusion in the COIDA

“Life has been good to me, considering where I come from” – Xolani Gwala

Just over a year ago, veteran radio presenter Xolani Gwala’s cancer was in remission. He spoke to the Mail & Guardian once he was back on air.

Kanya Cekeshe’s lawyer appeals decision not to grant him bail to the high court

Kanya Cekeshe’s legal team filed an urgent appeal at the Johannesburg high court on Tuesday against Monday’s judgment by magistrate Theunis Carstens.

Leader’s principal aim to build IFP

Gravitas: Velenkosini Hlabisa brings his experience to his new post as leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party.

Police Minister Bheke Cele addresses Jeppestown

Police minister Bheki Cele visited Jeppestown on Tuesday to speak to business owners and community leaders.
Advertising

Subscribers only

Toxic power struggle hits public works

With infighting and allegations of corruption and poor planning, the department’s top management looks like a scene from ‘Survivor’

Free State branches gun for Ace

Parts of the provincial ANC will target their former premier, Magashule, and the Free State PEC in a rolling mass action campaign

More top stories

Why anti-corruption campaigns are bad for democracy

Such campaigns can draw attention to the widespread presence of the very behaviour they are trying to stamp out — and subconsciously encourage people to view it as appropriate

Tax, wage bill, debt, pandemic: Mboweni’s tightrope budget policy statement

The finance minister has to close the jaws of the hippo and he’s likely to do this by tightening the country’s belt, again.

SA justice delays extradition of paedophile to UK

Efforts to bring Lee Nigel Tucker to justice have spanned 16 years and his alleged victims have waited for 30 years

Former state security minister Bongo back in court

Bongo and his co-accused will appear in the Nelspruit magistrate’s court in Mpumalanga over charges of fraud, corruption and theft
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday