SEVERAL high-ranking SA Football Association (Safa) officials, including its president Kirsten Nematandani, have been placed on special leave pending a commission of inquiry into soccer match-fixing involving international betting syndicates and local officials.

In the biggest scandal to rock local football since the country’s readmission into global sports 20 years ago, Safa admitted yesterday that there was a prima facie case against some of its officials. The officials were fingered by a damning Fifa report which found that four of Bafana Bafana’s pre-2010 Fifa World Cup matches were allegedly fixed by Asian betting syndicate kingpin Wilson Raj Perumal.

The four Bafana Bafana matches that were allegedly fixed were those against Colombia, Guatemala, Thailand and Bulgaria. Bafana Bafana won all the matches except the drawn fixture with Bulgaria.

In addition, matches between Bafana Bafana and Denmark at Super Stadium in Atteridgeville, Nigeria and South Korea at Makhulong Stadium in Tembisa, and Japan and Zimbabwe, which was played outside South Africa, were also allegedly fixed.

No players have been implicated.

Nematandani, newly appointed chief executive officer Dennis Mumble, Barney Kujane, Lindile Kika and Adeel Carelse were all placed on “special administrative leave”.

Former CEO Leslie Sedibe and head of referees Steve Goddard are expected to be called to give evidence at the inquiry.

Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, Safa’s vice-president, has taken charge of the organisation. – Lebogang Seale and Sapa