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Volume 10 No. 25

International Football

The match-fixing scandal involving the South African national team "is to be investigated by an independent enquiry" backed by FIFA, according to the BBC. FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke said, "This long-standing open case is harming South African football. It is vital this matter is concluded soon, with the culprits sanctioned under the zero tolerance policy." FIFA found the 2010 World Cup warm-ups against Bulgaria, Thailand, Columbia and Guatemala "had been fixed." This "briefly led to the suspension" of South Africa FA President Kirsten Nematandani, who was later reinstated. Valcke said, "It is critical that structures are set up in order to tackle similar cases should they happen in the future" (BBC, 4/5).

PLAYERS NOT TARGETED: The AP's Gerald Imray reported no players "have been implicated in fixing, with suspicions centred on the involvement of now-convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal and his bogus company, which appointed referees for games and who may have manipulated them to feed illegal betting scams." Perumal "has been identified as a central figure in match-fixing in other parts of the world." FIFA "has strict rules regarding government involvement in football but also says it needs the help of governments to fight the now widespread problem of match-fixing." South Africa Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said, "The rise of match manipulation globally has become one of the most pressing issues facing football today. Therefore it is vitally important that national authorities such as ourselves play a full role" (AP, 4/5).