Fixing prevalent in SA soccer

2013-02-11 21:36
Soccer (File)
Johannesburg - Match-fixing is prevalent in soccer, a referee told the Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court on Monday.

For his own safety and to avoid hampering an ongoing Hawks' investigation into alleged corruption in South African soccer, the court ordered that the referee not be named.

Prosecutor Louis van Niekerk told the court the investigation was likely to last another two years.

The referee was testifying in aggravation of sentence in the trial of Orlando Pirates soccer club's former manager Ramakhange Humphrey Setshedi, 54.

Setshedi has been found guilty of corruptly paying R2 000 to a police official posing as the chief referee in the Vodacom soccer tournament in June, 2011, to fix a soccer match.

On Monday, the prosecutor told the referee testifying was himself a suspect, and faced prosecution.

At the prosecutor's request, the magistrate told the referee he would be indemnified from prosecution if he answered all questions frankly and to the best of his ability, even if his answers incriminated him.

At the end of the proceedings, if satisfied with his testimony, the magistrate said she would declare him indemnified.

Questioned by the prosecutor, the referee said he had often corruptly received money to ensure the outcomes of matches.

The prosecutor warned the referee to answer only what he was asked, and not to go into detail as this would prejudice the ongoing investigation involving others.

The referee said the amounts paid to fix a match varied between R3 000 and R4 500 and were shared among corrupt referees.

He told the court: "In a particular season comprising 30 matches, I received payment from the chief executive of a soccer club for each of the 30 matches.

"In the next season, I only refereed six of the 30 games, and received a bribe for each of the six matches."

He said there were about 18 corrupt referees who received money for fixing matches.

Setshedi was sent to Cape Town in June 2011, to influence a referee to ensure Mpumalanga Sevutsa Stars won a Vodacom national league game against Ga-Rankuwa United and another against Baroka FC.

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