And now for the $10m African Diaspora development riddle

2016-12-11 06:13

Johannesburg - There is something that is usually said about the wheels of justice turning slowly, but grinding exceedingly fine.

Fifa seems to be adhering to this saying.

It was on December 17 2012 when the SA Football Association (Safa) announced the suspension of former president Kirsten Nematandani and four staff members over allegations of match-fixing involving Bafana Bafana matches played prior to the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

Their suspension was triggered by an explosive Fifa report. To date, those mentioned in the report – including the then CEO Leslie Sedibe, Steve Goddard, Adeel Carelse, Ace Kika and Nematandani – have left Safa for various reasons.

Some have been sanctioned and there are pending appeals.

The Fifa adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee banned Nematandani from football activities for five years a few days ago.

The Fifa statement on the latest developments reads, in part:

“In this regard, Mr Nematandani was found guilty of having violated [article] 13 [general rules of conduct], article 15 [loyalty] and article 18 [duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting] of the Fifa code of ethics and was sanctioned with a ban from taking part in any football-related activities for five years.”

Other individuals who received varying sanctions for an assortment of infringements were former Zimbabwe Football Association official Jonathan Musavengana and former Togolese national football team coach Bana Tchanilé.

“The adjudicatory chamber decided that Mr Musavengana and Mr Tchanilé had both infringed article 13 and article 21 [bribery and corruption] of the Fifa code of ethics and imposed a life ban on the two former officials,” the Fifa statement reads.

Just as we have seen with former Fifa president Sepp Blatter and erstwhile Uefa head honcho Michel Platini, Nematandani might still take the matter on appeal.

But the latest developments almost bring to a close the shocking news that first appeared almost four years ago that all the glorious results Bafana Bafana achieved in the build-up to the 2010 world shindig were cooked.

Now, the stink hanging over South Africa’s head is the $10m (R137.3m at today’s exchange rate) that went to the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) for the “African Diaspora development programme”.

Despite many reports, there is still a cloud hanging over this as there is yet to be conclusion to the matter.

The narrative is that the money was given by Fifa to Concacaf on behalf of the South African government as part of what was to be Safa’s proceeds from the World Cup.

The money was meant for the development of football in the Concacaf region, a confederation that counts the US as a member and has offices in New York. It has been revealed that the money ended up in some individuals’ pockets.

However, just as anyone who questioned apartheid was regarded as an “enemy of the state”, the $10m has taken the form of a swear word in South African football and government circles.

Anyone who dares to raise questions about it is viewed as unpatriotic. Questions about the issue go unanswered.

Just three weeks ago, we learnt that Fifa officials were in the country to conduct further investigations into the matter. Some of the unverified information was that they were accompanied by US FBI agents.

Some football and former South African Local Organising Committee members were summoned to answer some questions around the matter.

Safa issued a terse statement one Saturday afternoon during the visit, but follow-up questions were met with deafening silence.

Gone was the fanfare that used to accompany Fifa’s visits to this country prior to and after the 2010 extravaganza.

Is there something that is being hidden?

The Bible tells us in Luke 12:2: “For there is nothing covered that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.”

Only time will tell. Remember, the wheels of justice turn slowly, but they grind exceedingly fine.

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