JOHANNESBURG: The five South African Football Association (SAFA) officials suspended last month over a 2010 World Cup friendlies match-fixing scandal were reinstated Friday.
Kirsten Nematandani, president of the organisation, and acting chief executive Dennis Mumble, were among those allowed to return to their posts pending a probe into a damning FIFA report.
It claimed SAFA officials worked with the Singapore-based Football 4 U group that included convicted match-fixer Wilson Perumal Raj to fix warm-up matches against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala in South Africa.
Football 4 U was allowed to use referees from Kenya, Togo and Niger under a bogus exchange programme and a host of dubious decisions were made during the matches, including penalty kicks that should not have been awarded.
FIFA security officials, who have since left the world governing body, said in a report that the match-fixing could not have taken place without the aid of SAFA officials.
A South African official who switched referees at the last minute to prevent another pre-World Cup friendly against Denmark being fixed, later claimed he was phoned by Raj after the game and told his life could be in danger.
The decision to reinstate the five officials was made after a SAFA delegation met sports minister Fikile Mbalula, who recently ordered a probe into claims of corruption in the Cricket South Africa national body.
The match-fixing scandal comes as South Africa are preparing to stage the Africa Cup of Nations between January 19 and February 10 in Johannesburg, Durban, Nelspruit, Port Elizabeth and Rustenburg. – AFP
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