‘This is a difficult situation for Safa’

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Safa_Bafana

Lefty Shivambu

A fan celebrates in the stands during Bafana Bafana's international friendly match against Thailand at Mbombela Stadium on May 16, 2010.

Johannesburg – The SA Football Association (Safa) has suspended its president, Kirsten Nematandani, and four senior administrators after the release of a Fifa report on match fixing.

“This action in no way implies that these individuals were involved in match fixing,” Safa said in a statement on Monday.

“It is simply for good governance that this measure is being implemented.”

Safa's emergency committee met on Friday and Sunday after Fifa handed over a report last week on warm-up matches ahead of the 2010 World Cup, hosted by South Africa. A commission of enquiry, headed by a retired judge, would be set up to investigate the matter.

Aside from Nematandani, Safa COO and interim CEO Dennis Mumble, head of referees Adeel Carelse, head of national teams Lindile Kika, and former head of national teams Barney Kujane, would also take a voluntary leave of absence after their names were mentioned in the Fifa report. They would all give evidence in the commission of enquiry.

Safa vice-president Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana would serve as acting president in Nematandani's absence. Pinky Lehoko had been appointed interim CEO.

“This is a difficult situation for the association, and for those who have been named in the report,” Nonkonyana said.

“We hope that there will be no speculation about their presumed guilt or otherwise. We need to allow the investigation to take place speedily and fairly, so those that are innocent can be separated from those who are not.”

Former CEO Lesley Sedibe and former head of referees Steve Goddard would be asked to give evidence and co-operate with the enquiry.

Sedibe welcomed the commission of inquiry and said he would give his full support and co-operation to help bring the matter to finality.

"In the mean time, given that I do not have a copy of the report, I will be formally requesting a copy from Safa to help me prepare for the inquiry," Sedibe said in a statement on Monday.

"Until such time as the inquiry is duly convened, I do not wish to make any further comments."

Safa said it had apologised to Fifa after “compelling evidence” was found that the results of World Cup warm-up matches were fixed.

The national association confirmed last week it had received the Fifa report, which was completed by the global body's former head of security, Chris Eaton, after a bogus football development company, Football 4U, provided referees for the warm-up matches.

The company was later discovered to be a front for an Asian-based betting syndicate headed up by Wilson Raj Perumal, who was later convicted of match fixing. – Sapa


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