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

case.

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.