Safa fears Fifa punishment

JOHANNESBURG — The South African Football Association (Safa) is scrambling to avoid being suspended or expelled by world soccer body Fifa following its explosive report that implicates Safa staff in fixing Bafana Bafana 2010 World Cup warm-up matches.

Report by City Press

If found guilty, this could see South Africa excluded from international football.

Safa said on Monday it had put its president Kirsten Nematandani and four staff members — Dennis Mumble, Adeel Carelse, Lindile Kika and Barney Kujane — on special leave pending investigations because their names appeared in the report.

The report — a copy of which City Press has — alleges matches against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia, Guatemala and Denmark “were fixed for betting fraud . . . possibly with a view to improving (Bafana’s) position in international rankings”.

Others named are former chief executive officer Leslie Sedibe, former head of referees Steve Goddard, former coach Pitso Mosimane and former team manager Sipho Nkumane. None are currently employed by Safa.

By entering into an agreement with an outside company, Football4U, to arrange referees for Bafana Bafana matches, Safa was in breach of Fifa statutes, Fifa says in the report.

“At the very least, it appears that Safa staff members were either duped or extremely foolish,” it reads.

Acting president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana said on Saturday: “Given the seriousness, we had to take extraordinary measures, including sending our president on special leave, until an inquiry is conducted.”

He said Safa had sent a letter to Fifa informing it of the steps taken. Nonkonyana said he had written to a retired judge asking him to head a commission of inquiry into the allegations.

Only the country’s President can appoint a judicial commission.

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