Match fixing: Safa to seek update

SPORTS Minister Fikile Mbalula and South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan will meet Fifa general secretary Jerome Valcke in Zurich today for an update on the governing body’s investigation into match-fixing allegations around Bafana Bafana matches ahead of the 2010 World Cup.

The meeting in Switzerland is to examine progress in resolving if there was any collusion by Safa officials in the bribing of players who played against South Africa in warm-up friendlies ahead of the global showpiece.

The official investigation by South Africa made no initial headway, so Fifa said it would take over.

But Fifa, too, have stalled on the matter with their prosecutor, Michael Garcia, who has since resigned, concentrating his efforts over the last years on the bid to find corruption behind Qatar’s successful 2022 World Cup bid.

“There has been not enough work from all sides, so I’ve told our ethics committee they have to now do some proper work on the South Africa issue,” Valcke said in Cairo yesterday.

“It became an unnecessary argument between Fifa and the sports minister, but we have to admit not enough has been done on either end.”

Fifa agreed in April 2013 to allow the government to set up an inquiry after finding strong evidence of match fixing in games involving Bafana in the weeks before the World Cup, with accusations that referees manipulated the games for illegal Asian betting syndicates.

But the lack of progress on the sports minister’s part led Fifa to take away the investigation.
An indignant Mbalula flew to Zurich to remonstrate with Fifa but was told not to interfere in football matters or face being responsible for South Africa being suspended from world football.

Since then Mbalula has on several occasions criticised Fifa, last month accusing them of being “very inefficient” in match- fixing investigations.

“The delay has not damaged us, it has actually damaged Fifa’s image as very inefficient and very relaxed to allegations of corruption and not dealing with them decisively,” he said.

– Mark Gleeson

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