FIFA completes 1st stage of South African probe
A FIFA investigation has revealed that a notorious match-fixing
agent helped organize suspicious friendly matches played by South
Africa as it prepared to host the 2010 World Cup.
Jailed fixer Wilson Perumal appointed referees, including Niger
official Ibrahim Chaibou, after being chosen to help the South
Africa Football Association, FIFA security director Chris Eaton
”It is clear that the convicted criminal and football
match-fixer, Wilson Perumal, was involved in convincing SAFA to
agree to a company then managed by him (Football4U) to select, fund
and appoint referees to certain international matches played in
2010 which are now under investigation,” Eaton said in a statement
released by the South African body.
No South African player was implicated by any evidence gathered
during interviews with past and present SAFA officials in the first
stage of FIFA’s probe into the allegations, Eaton said.
Perumal was jailed in Finland last year after being convicted of
fixing league matches there, and his evidence has led FIFA on a
trail of match-fixing allegations worldwide.
The Singapore businessman is believed to be part of a southeast
Asian organized crime network fixing matches for betting scams
worth tens of millions of dollars.
Eaton has switched focus to South Africa after helping football
officials in Zimbabwe reveal plots involving the former chief
executive of the national federation and dozens of players.
He said that he still needs to interview referees and review
some ”forensic documentary material.”
Chaibou is among those being sought, to answer questions about
his handling of South Africa’s 5-0 victory over Guatemala in
Polokwane on May 31, 2010 – less than two weeks before the
tournament kicked off.
The FIFA-approved official awarded three penalties for handball,
including one which clearly struck a defender standing outside the
Chaibou is under suspicion in separate probes over his handling
of international matches, including Nigeria’s 4-1 victory over
Argentina in a June 2011 friendly and Bahrain’s 3-0 win against a
fake Togo team in September 2010. He left FIFA’s international list
after reaching the mandatory retirement age of 45 last year.
Also under suspicion is South Africa’s friendly against
Colombia, played four days before the Guatemala match as the
official opener in Johannesburg’s rebuilt Soccer City stadium,
which went on to stage the World Cup final.
South Africa won 2-1 with all the goals coming from penalties.
One of them was also ordered to be retaken.
The host nation also beat Thailand 4-0 in Nelspruit and drew 1-1
with Bulgaria in Johannesburg in World Cup warmup matches.
FIFA investigators have spent four days in South Africa
collecting evidence in its latest match-fixing probe.
SAFA chief executive Robin Petersen invited more witnesses to
”This investigation will be concluded as fast as humanly
possible, while respecting due process and extending full
opportunities for anyone to contribute to arriving at the complete
truth of these matters,” Petersen said.