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Fifa bans three more former Safa officials

Three more former South African Football Association (Safa) officials have been banned from the sport in connection with international friendlies played by Bafana Bafana in 2010, soccer’s governing body Fifa said today.

Leslie Sedibe, a former chief executive of the South African Football Association (SAFA), was banned for five years and fined over R310 000 by Fifa’s Ethics Committee. Steve Goddard and Adeel Carelse, both former heads of the Safa’s refereeing department, were each banned for two years, Fifa said in a statement. 

The cases were linked to that of former Safa executive member and head of referees Lindile Kika, who was banned for six years by Fifa last October. Fifa said that Sedibe, Goddard and Carelse had all infringed ethics rules concerning general rules of conduct, loyalty and disclosure, co-operation and reporting. 

The investigations were conducted by Fifa’s Ethics Committee along with the security division, which is responsible for fighting match-fixing. The investigation, initiated on November 2014 against Safa officials, was conducted by Dr Cornel Borbely who is the chair of the Investigatory Chamber of the Ethics Committee, in collaboration with the Fifa Security Division. The latter is responsible for fighting match-fixing. 

Chairperson of the Safa Ethics Committee Poobalan Govindasamy welcomed the sanctions imposed on the organisations former officials.  

“We are glad this matter has ultimately reached this stage since Safa reported the matter to Fifa almost four years ago. It had dragged on too long for our liking and was starting to have an impact on us as an Association and our valued stakeholders. 

“At Safa we have a zero-tolerance policy for any corrupt activity which impacts negatively on this beautiful game and for that reason we welcome strong measures against any individual who is found guilty of such offences. 

“This should serve as a warning to anyone harbouring intentions of engaging in nefarious activities within the sport that the long arm of the law will catch up with them. Be warned,” Govindasamy said. 

In 2012, Fifa handed Safa a 500-page report that documented the activities of convicted Singapore-based match-fixer Wilson Perumal and his Football 4U organisation. Chris Eaten, Fifa’s head of security at the time, said that Perumal’s company had provided the match officials for the four games under investigation. 

South Africa usually invites match officials from neighbouring countries to handle home friendlies, but agreed to Perumal’s offer to fly in officials from Kenya, Niger and Togo for the four matches. 

South Africa were handed two disputed penalties in their 2-1 victory over Colombia in Johannesburg on May 27, 2010. One of the kicks was ordered to be retaken twice after the initial efforts were both saved. Colombia’s goal also came from a penalty. Four days later, South Africa were awarded another two spot kicks in their 5-0 win over Guatemala in Polokwane. 

Match-fixing is often organised by betting syndicates who make money by correctly gambling on the result of the match they have manipulated. – Reuters & ANA (Editing by Michelle Solomon)

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