South African government given warning by Fifa
Last updated on .From the section Football
Fifa, world football's governing body, have written to the South African government warning them against a judicial inquiry into the recent match-fixing scandals, saying the matter should be handled by the country's football association.
Several of South Africa's warm-up matches before they hosted the 2010 World Cup were found to have been fixed, which led to the brief suspension of senior South African Football Association (Safa) officials, including its president Kirsten Nematandani.
South Africa's Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (Sascoc) recommended a judicial commission of inquiry but Fifa warned them of possible consequences should the government be seen to be intervening in football matters.
South Africa's sports minister Fikile Mbalula told local media he would travel to Fifa headquarters in Zurich next week to discuss the issue with world football's governing body.
"Sascoc have made a recommendation to us that we must go ahead with a judicial commission of inquiry into the matter," Mbalula said.
"Match-fixing is about fraud, corruption and mismanagement. There is a rule of law in South Africa. Where there are suspicions, they must be investigated. Safa must understand that you can't be a referee and player at the same time," he said.
Safa vice president Danny Jordaan told the Reuters news agency that his organisation had already asked police to investigate the matter.
Nematandani and four other top officials were briefly suspended in December following a report from Fifa, about the alleged rigging of four matches in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup. The Fifa investigation discovered that Safa was infiltrated by convicted Singaporean match-fixer Wilson Perumal and his Football 4U organisation.
Within a month their suspension was lifted on procedural grounds.