Safa committee to review match fixing report
The South African Football Association says its national executive committee (NEC) will meet on February 23 to discuss a Fifa report into match fixing.
Safa said in a statement on Sunday that the NEC would also confirm recommendations of the body's legal and constitutional affairs and security committees about how to proceed with the matter.
Pooby Govindasamy, the chairman of Safa's legal and constitutional committee, said all of the people named in the Fifa report were presumed innocent while due process was followed. He added that any decisions about the matter made by the NEC would be final.
"The NEC will take the decision, and no other body has the authority to make any determination on the matter and any presupposition on the issue is premature. We should always keep in mind the rules of natural justice," Mr Govindasamy said.
"It must be emphasised that to speculate on the outcome of any hearing is dangerous as any person is presumed innocent and must be given an opportunity to explain any allegations against him or her in order to ensure fairness in the process."
Five Safa officials — president Kirsten Nematandani, acting chief executive Dennis Mumble, Ace Kika, Barney Kujane and Adeel Carelse — were suspended in December after they were implicated in a Fifa probe into match fixing, revolving around Bafana Bafana warm-up games ahead of the 2010 World Cup.
The Safa NEC reversed the decision and reinstated the senior staffers in January after meeting with Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula.
In a separate case on Saturday, Safa said it suspended match officials who were implicated in the Phil Setshedi corruption scandal.
Setshedi, the former Bafana Bafana assistant coach, was sentenced on Tuesday to three years' imprisonment for corruption, related to match-fixing.
“The association will also summon the club implicated in this matter to a disciplinary hearing,” Safa said. “Should the club or anyone be found liable in this matter, the association will pursue the strongest possible sentence under its rules to demonstrate its zero tolerance (of) any corrupt behaviour in football.”
Nematandani said: “This is a serious statement, match-fixing has no place in our society and anyone who might be toying with the idea, be warned. Match-fixing and corruption in football is becoming a global cancer, and we as Safa would like to send out a strong statement that anyone caught engaging in this unlawful activity would face the full wrath of the law,” he said.
Safa said its NEC had set up a whistle-blower policy and established a whistle-blower hotline last year, which the public can use to report any suspicious activities in football. The Safa NEC would also approve a revised, comprehensive anti-corruption policy for approval at the end of March, that would further close any match-fixing loopholes.
“Following a series of corruption allegations in the Safa Second Division in 2010, Safa approached the Hawks to assist it in rooting out the scourge,” Safa said.
“On the surface, it appeared that an organised effort was under way to fix the outcomes of matches in Safa’s highest amateur league.”
Safa said it had provided the Hawks with several leads to possible corrupt activity in football in the two years following the complaints.
These leads had led to the sting operation that resulted in the conviction of Setshedi.
“Whilst Safa was able to substitute match officials with ones from other provinces from time to time to prevent matches from being fixed, we had to do something to ensure that the practice is stopped,” said Safa’s head of security, Mlungisi Ncame.
Safa then initiated the sting operation on Setshedi in Cape Town in 2011 and worked closely with law enforcement authorities throughout the process to secure a conviction, it said.
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