Soccer match-fixing claims probed in SAComment on this story
Cape Town - Investigators visited South Africa in April to look at match-fixing allegations during soccer matches leading up to the 2010 World Cup, SA Football Association president Danny Jordaan said on Sunday.
With only days before the 2014 World Cup kicks off in Brazil, fresh allegations of match fixing were published in the New York Times over the weekend.
The report was based on an internal investigation by the international football body Fifa’s own investigators and showed how professional gamblers easily fixed matches.
Central to the match-fixing syndicate was Singapore company Football4U which helped Safa with the placement of referees, the New York Times reported.
Jordaan said: “Fifa sent their investigators in April to South Africa to investigate the matter of match fixing. It is a global problem and not just found in South Africa. It is important for us to ensure the integrity of the sport.”
Asked if this year’s World Cup was threatened by match fixing, Jordaan said he had no way of knowing.
“We want to protect the integrity of the game. We have handed the matter over to Fifa to investigate.
“We want it to be closed and action must be taken against those who are found to be guilty.”
The New York Times reported that investigators found South African soccer officials had probably aided fixers to throw matches ahead of the last World Cup.
Jordaan said the investigation had not been finalised and no action had been taken.
Last year the Cape Times published a series of articles on allegations of match fixing before the 2010 World Cup.
It involved the same retired referee Ibrahim Chaibou, from Niger, who the New York Times reported on.
He officiated at the exhibition match between South Africa and Guatemala in May 2010.
The New York Times reported that, according to investigators, Chaibou visited a Bidvest Bank in Polokwane on the day of the match.
The report said Fifa’s Early Warning System which monitors gambling at certain matches detected odd movements in betting prior to the match.
Safa spokesman Dominic Chimhavi’s first reaction to the newspaper report was “the Americans know nothing about football. They are clutching at straws”.
Chimhavi later said it was important for Safa to clear its name as the allegations were not “sitting well with our sponsors and stakeholders”.