Pirates halt youth programme amid age cheat claims

Orlando Pirates

Orlando Pirates, the South African Premier League champions, have suspended their youth development programme amid allegations of age cheating.

The club claims: "It appears to be of a magnitude that calls for an immediate and extensive investigation."

In the past, African football has been affected by players pretending to be younger in order to qualify for age-group tournaments.

Most recently, Somalia was last month expelled from qualifying for the 2013 African Under-17 championship. Niger was disqualified from the finals of the same tournament in 2009 for fielding a 22-year-old.

Pirates have advised parents of the youth players to make arrangements for their children to return to school nearer their homes.

The parents have also been urged to co-operate fully with the investigation, which the Johannesburg-based club insist will be thorough.