Absa Premiership

Tim Spirit: ‘Our football is rotten to the core’

2016-12-18 06:01
Timothy Molobi.

Johannesburg - If there is one problem with South Africans, it is tjotjo (bribe). Most of us are not different from the rest of the continent when it comes to corrupt activities.

During one of my trips to west Africa, my passport was confiscated and the immigration officer later said there was a page missing.

But what he really needed was a dollar bill to make up for the “missing” page before I could get my passport back.

In other parts of the continent, they call the practice “small-small”. You don’t make it to the top if you don’t have small-small.

If there is anything that is hindering our football’s progress, it is corruption and cheating: from age cheating to match-fixing.

Former Premier Soccer League general manager Ace Ncobo once said: “Our football is rotten to the core.” The award-winning former match official did not elaborate. He was right, though.

Years later, following Operation Dribble, an investigation into match-fixing in the country launched in 2004, there are still corrupt activities happening right under the noses of football administrators.

With our season already halfway gone, there are already rumours of match-fixing in our leagues. If what they say is true about there having to be a corruptor to tempt an official, it means everyone is involved: from club officials to match officials.

People in football circles talk freely about corrupt activities, but nothing is done about it.

While we thought Operation Dribble would cleanse our football of corruption, this has not been the case – if what has been said is to be believed. But there is no smoke without fire, so there is an element of truth in allegations.

While many accusing fingers point at the National First Division (NFD), corrupt activities cannot be ruled out in the Premiership. I know of one NFD club owner who knows about appointments before the match officials themselves do.

This is clearly an inside job, and whoever is responsible for these leaks should be sanctioned and exposed. Those who are captured within football structures should be brought to book because this decay cannot go on forever.

Honest people deserve the best treatment, but don’t have money to bribe their way to the top.

The ABC Motsepe League takes the cake, according to those in the know. There, I’m told again, corrupt activities happen often and are nothing to be ashamed of. Based on what has been said in whispers in corridors, it is clear that some people are captured.

But why is the SA Football Association (Safa) not doing anything about this?

They say the national play-offs are the worst and all the clubs going there know they need at least R500 000 to stand a chance of promotion to the NFD. This has been going on for some time.

Now, the question is: If people speak freely about these shenanigans, why is nothing happening to those involved? The onus is on Safa, the country’s custodian of football, to investigate all the allegations.

Unless, of course, Safa officials are involved. It is easy to set traps and call in crime-busters to investigate. We cannot expect clubs to police one another when most of them are involved. After all, birds of a feather flock together.

But is it not about time that they came out in the open? If there ever was a time to cleanse our football of all corrupt activities, this is it.

Let’s expose those who are involved and start 2017 with a clean slate. Or is it a question of, if you can’t beat them, join them? Enough of this small-small mentality!

Follow me on Twitter @TimspiritMolobi

Read more on:    safa  |  johannesburg  |  soccer
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