FIFA keeping eye on SAFA
Johannesburg - The police and an independent commission are involved in investigating the match-fixing scandal that has immersed SAFA in possibly its worst-ever crisis.
This is the view held by FIFA as revealed by a spokesperson of world soccer's controlling body on Friday.
"We believe the South African police and an independent commission are now involved in the case," said the FIFA spokesperson.
"As for FIFA's position at this juncture, we are monitoring the situation closely," he added.
But, in a remarkable turnabout, SAFA's national executive committee (NEC) last week reinstated the five suspended officials who were implicated in the earlier FIFA match-fixing probe into five Bafana Bafana games prior to the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.
The five officials reprieved after being told to step down by SAFA's Emergency Committee pending a full-scale Investigation included president Kirsten Nematandani and acting CEO Dennis Mumble, as well as well as Bafana team manager Barney Kujane, head of referees Adele Arendse and technical chief of national teams Lindile "Ace" Kika.
Also mentioned in FIFA's probe that linked Bafana's match-fixing games to Wilson Perumal Raj's convicted Football 4U betting syndicate were former SAFA CEO Leslie Sedibe and the former head of the organisation's refereeing department, Steve Goddard.
The investigation into match-fixing found that Football 4U had organised Bafana's opponents for the friendly games against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia, Guatamala and Denmark prior to the World Cup and appointed the referees as well - with Bafana unbeaten in these games amid several highly dubious decisions.
Nematandani has declared that the suspensions were overturned because "due process" had not been followed.
"South Africa is a democracy," he added, "and no one can be deemed guilty without a fair and proper trial."
Sports Minister Fikile Mabalula has accepted SAFA's U-turn and said he was confident the bribery mess would be sorted out in good time.
"What we need to concentrate on right now," he added, "is the hosting of the forthcoming African Nations Cup and making the tournament a huge success. Not to rock the boat."
The latest FIFA statement added that "the national association concerned in match-fixing allegation bears the responsibility and has the competence to investigate and sanction as it sees fit.
"FIFA in the process will provide advice both at an investigative and disciplinary level - with the power to extend any decisions to have worldwide effect."
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