Match-fixing: Hawks to make arrests - report

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spt bafana pic library Lefty Shivambu (File photo) Siphiwe Tshabalala and Datsnnorn Mourlao during the friendly match between South Africa and Thailand at Mbombela Stadium on May 16, 2010. Picture: Lefty Shivambu / Gallo Images

The Hawks are poised to arrest several prominent soccer officials in connection with the alleged match-fixing scandal involving Bafana Bafana games. according to a report

TimesLive is quoting Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko as saying that the arrests will "shake South African football to its core".

The website quotes police sources as saying the arrests would be made within the next 10 days or early in the new year, but Ramaloko refused to confirm this.

A special Hawks team, working with international law enforcement agencies, is sifting through documents recently seized in raids on several SA Football Association offices, the homes of Safa officials, and the offices of foreign football associations.

Ramaloko said the Hawks had been investigating the case since August but a complaint of corruption was made only this week, the report said.

A criminal investigation started only on Wednesday.

Five top SA Football Association (Safa) officials, including its president Kirsten Nematandani, have been suspended pending a match-fixing inquiry into four pre-2010 World Cup warm-up games involving Bafana Bafana.

The suspensions follow a damning Fifa report into the Bafana friendlies against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala in the weeks prior to the 2010 World Cup.

Aside from Nematandani, Safa CEO and interim CEO Dennis Mumble, head of referees Adeel Carelse, head of national teams Lindile Kika, and former head of national teams Barney Kujane, are also taking a voluntary leave of absence after their names were mentioned in the Fifa report.

The report questioned Safa’s decision to allow full control of logistics for four matches prior to the 2010 Fifa World Cup by Football 4U International, a fake football development company owned by convicted match-fixer Wilson Perumal Raj.

Raj, a Singaporean national, was convicted in 2011 to two years in prison after being found guilty of fixing at least nine games in the Finnish domestic league.

He is also accused of fielding a fake Togo national team in a match against Bahrain in 2011 and for running over a police officer in Singapore in 2009.

The match-fixer has also been said to have bribed Zimbabwean players while on tour of Asia in 2009. During the tour the Zimbabwean team lost to Thailand, Malaysia and Syria.

Raj’s

involvement with Safa saw him organise the officials for Bafana’s pre-World Cup games against Bulgaria, Colombia, Guatemala and Thailand.

Bafana won every match, except for a one all draw with Bulgaria, yet the results have been found to be have been pre-arranged to benefit an Asian betting syndicate.

Raj’s company, Football 4U International, was later discovered to have been a front for the Asian betting syndicate. - IOL



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