Bafana friendlies won’t be investigated

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iol spt mar7 Bafana`1 Gallo Images Safa will announce the new Bafana coach at a National Executive Committee meeting, Safa CEO Dennis Mumble said. Photo: Ashley Vlotman

South Africa will not investigate alleged match fixing in Bafana Bafana's warm-up games preceding the 2010 Fifa World Cup, the presidency said on Friday.

"President Jacob Zuma has decided not to appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate, among other things, the alleged match fixing and manipulation of soccer [match] outcomes in relation to Bafana Bafana's pre-2010 World Cup international friendly matches," spokesman Mac Maharaj said in a statement.

"The international football association (Fifa) has advised the president that there is currently a pending preliminary investigation on the same matter by Fifa," he said.

In November last year, the chairman of Fifa's ethics committee said it had moved ahead with its own investigation because the South African government had not yet set up an inquiry -- seven months after it had agreed to do so, and over three years after the matches in question.

Fifa had found strong evidence that friendlies played in the host country just weeks ahead of the 2010 World Cup were fixed, with allegations that the matches were manipulated by referees working for illegal Asian betting syndicates.

Although the exact games had not been identified, South Africa's 5-0 win over Guatemala and 2-1 win over Colombia in May 2010 were under suspicion. Three penalties were awarded in each match, mostly for handball, with a number of the decisions questionable.

Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula criticised Fifa at the time it announced its own investigation, accusing it of interfering in South Africa's business.

Fifa defended itself, saying it was authorised to investigate under its ethics code where "associations fail to prosecute potential breaches of that code".

Mbalula led the South African delegation which met Fifa in April last year when it was agreed the South African government would set up an inquiry to look into the fixing allegations. - Sapa


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