Thu Oct 27 12:51:00 CAT 2016

IN HIS OWN WORDS: Leslie Sedibe hits out over five-year FIFA ban

Tiyani Wa Ka Mabasa | 15 March, 2016 14:32
Leslie Sedibe.
Image by: Gallo Images/City Press/Lucky Nxumalo

Former South African Football Association (Safa) CEO Leslie Sedibe has come out guns blazing after he was banned for five years by FIFA from all football-related activities.

On top of the ban‚ Sedibe was fined around R311‚000. Here is a summary of his responses on key issues:

Is Sedibe going to challenge the ban or accept it and pay the fine?

“They [Fifa] are crazy… I can assure you that I’m not going to waste my children’s money. Let them sue me… I will meet Fifa in court and I will clear my name. One thing I really relish is to have them under cross examination.”

Sedibe on his time as Safa CEO from January 2010 to February 2011…

“A lot of people look at these things as glamorous‚ but I must tell you it was hard. It was hard to run an organisation that was bankrupt.”

On Safa’s statement welcoming Fifa’s decision to ban him…

“I’m not surprised. They were looking for a fall guy and hey‚ Leslie Sedibe is the fall guy.”

Sedibe on the match-fixing scandal

“I was investigated by the police and the National Prosecuting Authority took a decision that there was no evidence of match-fixing on my part.”

Why he believes Fifa’s investigation was flawed…

“In my view‚ the Fifa investigation remains incomplete and remains unreliable for as long as the documents that I requested from Safa are not included in the investigation. Safa has refused to give me access to this information and yet Fifa‚ in its own infinite wisdom because they think they own the world and they think that they can do whatever they want wherever they go in the world‚ they say I must give them documents.

“How then was I in a position to offer an explanation supported by documentation when to the knowledge of both Fifa and Safa‚ the very documents I required were being withheld by Safa?”

Why Sedibe refused to fly to Zurich‚ Switzerland‚ for an interview with Fifa...

“In April of 2015‚ I was hospitalised and the doctors recommended surgery to correct a congenital deformity on my right foot… It was a serious risk to my own health. I was generally sedated [after the surgery]‚ took medication and I later moved on to a wheelchair.

“It was during this time that Fifa demanded that I fly to Zurich to face a panel of investigators. I was literally incapable of doing so‚ but because I did not go Fifa drew an adverse inference: "He is trying to hide something".

“Fifa has demonstrated little willingness to undertake a full and comprehensive investigation. They seemed very intent on reaching a conclusion and they did‚ which avoids identifying the true culprits for fear of political reprisal.”

Sedibe also rubbished claims that he claimed to have lost his Safa laptop when Fifa needed it‚ which led to suggestions that he had something to hide…

“I have been accused of dishonesty for allegedly refusing to return the Safa laptop. In fact‚ to the knowledge of Safa‚ who made this claim‚ it was throughout this period in Safa’s possession.

“In fact‚ I have an affidavit of the person [Safa employee] who collected the laptop from my house.

“Regrettably‚ I have come to a very sad conclusion that all evidence that will otherwise support my version of events has been destroyed and Safa’s conduct in this regard must be treated with great suspicion.”

And he claims that the truth will come out about the $10 million donation that SA paid to the Caribbean...

“In the meantime‚ Fifa has itself been plagued by one corruption scandal after another including allegations of bribery involving $10 million relating to South Africa’s bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup. These allegations‚ ladies and gentlemen‚ came as no surprise to me. The truth about the $10 million will come out‚ watch this space.

“I am sure and I’m certain that Safa’s steadfast refusal to allow me access to my Safa laptop‚ the e-mail on the servers and documents that I requested is directly motivated by a concern that I would have placed compromising documents before Fifa‚ which would have caused significant embarrassment to Safa.

“When I became CEO of Safa‚ Safa was bankrupt. There was no money… So why donate $10 million to the Caribbean when Safa itself needed these funds? The so-called Diaspora. This invites a serious investigation.”

Did Sedibe interact with the match-fixer‚ Wilson Perumal?

“Mr Ace Kika‚ in his capacity as chairman of the Safa technical and referees committee‚ had been communicating with Perumal to arrange for the appointment of referees for the 2010 friendlies. My own involvement as recorded in the letter was to negotiate with the relevant football associations to conclude match agreements with them. In other words‚ I was never involved in negotiations with Perumal. You’ve all been told lies that I met with Perumal at Safa House.”

Sedibe’s conclusion on the matter…

“Fifa‚ ladies and gentlemen‚ was never interested in the truth. Fifa had to find a scapegoat and that scapegoat is Leslie Sedibe… This was nothing short of a kangaroo court. These cowards and I call them cowards‚ both from Safa and Fifa‚ are afraid to come before an independent tribunal.”

Sedibe is currently the CEO of Proudly SA and says there is no reason for him to quit…

“No‚ but why? I have done nothing wrong.

*Sedibe was found guilty of infringing Fifa's general rules of conduct‚ loyalty and duty of disclosure‚ cooperation and reporting relating to match-fixing of international friendly matches played in South Africa in 2010.


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