News 4 March 2015

South Africa criticises FIFA for not dealing with match-fixing allegations

The South African Sports Minister has criticised FIFA for failing to swiftly deal with allegations that warm-up matches ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup were fixed. In April 2013, FIFA opened an inquiry, after a 2012 investigation found that South Africa’s 2010 World Cup warm up games against Bulgaria, Thailand, Colombia and Guatemala had been fixed.

FIFA had promised the South African government that it would investigate the claims, and deliver a speedy resolution, back in April 2013. During a visit to London, South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula (pictured) told the Associated Press that the delay had “damaged FIFA’s image as very inefficient and very relaxed relating to allegations of corruption, and not dealing with them decisively”.

The South African World Cup warm-up games are believed to have been manipulated by referees working for a sports betting syndicate controlled by Wilson Raj Perumal and associate Dan Tan. It is understood that Perumal’s agency, Football 4 U International, had been involved in the organisation of some of the games.

In an interview with Al Jazeera in a programme called ‘Killing the Ball’ broadcast on 19 February, Perumal said that he had played a part in the qualification of five of the 32 teams that took part in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He explained that Football 4 U International had been set up in 2009 to fix international friendly games for illegal bookmakers, and that he had fixed qualifying games for the 2010 World Cup.

In May 2010, South Africa beat Guatemala 5-0 after the referee awarded three penalties for handball. In South Africa’s 2-1 game against Columbia, also in May 2010, all three goals came from penalties.

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