FIFA Warns South African Government Of Interfering With Match-Fixing Inquiry
FIFA has written to the South African government warning it against a judicial inquiry into the recent football match-fixing scandals, saying that "the matter should rather be handled" by the country's FA, according to Mark Gleeson of REUTERS. Several of South Africa's warm-ups before it hosted the 2010 World Cup "were found to have been fixed," which led to the brief suspension of senior South African FA officials, including President Kirsten Nematandani. South Africa's Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee "recommended a judicial commission of inquiry," but FIFA warned it of possible consequences "should the government be seen to be intervening in football matters." South Africa Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said that "he would travel to FIFA headquarters in Zurich next week to discuss the issue with world football's governing body" (REUTERS, 3/31).
BUTTING HEADS: The AFP reported Mbalula "is on a collision course" with FIFA. Mbalula said, "SAFA approached us saying it wanted a judicial commission of inquiry. Now some mischievous people wrote to FIFA saying we are interfering. SAFA cannot be player and referee." Nematandani said: "The decision of the national executive committee is that we want an independent commission of inquiry" (AFP, 4/1).