Former South Africa assistant coach sent to prison

The former assistant coach of South Africa was sentenced to
three years in prison on Tuesday in what prosecutors called the
country’s first successful case against match-fixing.

Phil Setshedi was sentenced after he offered a man he thought
was a referee 2,000 rand ($220) to fix the outcome of a lower
league promotion playoff in 2011. The man posing as the referee at
the meeting in Cape Town was an undercover police officer.

South Africa’s National Prosecuting Agency said Setshedi
received three years in prison with another five years suspended
after he was found guilty of corruption in a special commercial
crimes court in December. The NPA also said it was South Africa’s
first conviction and sentencing for match-fixing in football.

At least one game involving South Africa in the buildup to the
2010 World Cup – which the country hosted – is also under suspicion
for match-fixing, although that has no connection to the Setshedi

As well as the Setshedi case, the South African Football
Association was also set for an uncomfortable investigation at the
highest levels of the sport after a report from world body FIFA
indicated the 2010 World Cup warmup could have been fixed.

SAFA briefly suspended some of its own officials – including the
president – late last year and said it would undertake a ”rigorous
investigation” after allegations that federation officials had
connections to match-fixing syndicates.

Football is reeling from claims of widespread fixing after the
European Union’s police agency said last week that organized crime
gangs had fixed or attempted to fix nearly 700 games across the
world for illegal betting markets since 2008.

Setshedi was a former assistant coach of Bafana Bafana, and was
also a captain and coaching staff member of Johannesburg team the
Orlando Pirates, one of South Africa’s biggest clubs.

The NPA said Setshedi intended to fix two playoff games in June
2011, promising the undercover policeman posing as a referee more
money for a fix in a second match if the first went as planned. The
person who sent Setshedi to fix the games was ”unknown,” the
national prosecutors said.