SAfrica in clear so far in FIFA match-fixing probe
A FIFA investigation has revealed that an agent for an Asian
betting syndicate helped organize suspicious exhibition games
played by South Africa as it prepared to host the 2010 World
Jailed fixer Wilson Perumal appointed referees after being
chosen to help the South African Football Association, FIFA
security director Chris Eaton said Monday.
An international match-fixing scandal has included accusations
surrounding international games in South Africa leading to the 2010
World Cup in the country. Soccer scandals also have hit Finland,
Italy, South Korea, Turkey and Zimbabwe, among others.
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 investigation 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 soccer
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.”
Niger official Ibrahim 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
handballs, including one which clearly struck a defender standing
outside the penalty area.
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 exhibition against
Colombia, played four days before the Guatemala match as the
official opener in Johannesburg’s rebuilt Soccer City stadium,
which staged 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.