Interpol has been drafted in to help with the investigation into the match-fixing scandal that has sent shock waves through South African football.
Last week, the South Africa Football Association (SAFA) suspended its President Kirsten Nematandani and four senior administrators after the release of a FIFA report citing “compelling evidence” that a number of 2010 FIFA World Cup warm-up games were rigged.
Nematandani, incoming chief executive Dennis Mumble, head of referees Adeel Carelse, head of national teams Lindile Kika, and former head of national teams Barney Kujane are all taking voluntary leave of absence pending a commission of inquiry.
The report is understood to have been completed by FIFA’s former head of security, Chris Eaton after it emerged that a bogus football development company, Football 4U, provided referees for the matches.
The company was later discovered to be a front for an Asian-based betting syndicate headed up by Wilson Raj Perumal, the notorious Singapore fixer who has already been convicted of match-fixing
“There are individuals of interest who are abroad, who we are interested in going to, [in order] to get to the bottom of this case,” said Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation spokesperson Paul Ramaloko, explaining the involvement of Interpol.
The scandal could not have come at a worse time for South Africa – just a few weeks before the African Nations Cup – and Ramaloko expects heads to roll.
“During several meetings between this match fixer and SAFA officials a sum of eight million rand (£576,000/$935,000/€708,000) was offered to the officials,” Ramaloko told the Sowetan newspaper. “The investigation is at an early stage, but ‘individuals of interest’ have already been weeded out.”
Contact the writer of this story at firstname.lastname@example.org. Inside the Games is an online blog of the London Organizing Committee for the upcoming London Summer Olympics. This article is reprinted here with permission.