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Fri Jun 24 22:22:51 SAST 2016

Ex-Safa officials banned

Reuters and Tiyani wa ka Mabasa | 15 March, 2016 00:45
Former Safa CEO Leslie Sedibe yesterday denied any wrongdoing after Fifa banned him from football-related activities for five years following an investigation into match-fixing
Image by: MOELETSI MABE

Three more former SA Football Association officials have been banned in connection with ethics allegations related to friendlies played by the national side in 2010.

Leslie Sedibe, a former Safa chief executive, was suspended for five years and fined $20250 (R314414) by the ethics committee of soccer's governing body, Fifa. Steve Goddard and Adeel Carelse, former heads of Safa's refereeing department, were banned for two years.

The cases were linked to that of former Safa executive committee member and head of referees Lindile Kika, who was suspended for six years in October.

Fifa said Sedibe, Goddard and Carelse had infringed ethics regulations concerning general rules of conduct, loyalty and disclosure, co-operation and reporting.

Sedibe, who said he would take both Fifa and Safa to court, denied wrongdoing, saying he had not met convicted Singapore match-fixer Wilson Perumal at Safa's headquarters to discuss match officials.

"You've all been told lies that I met Wilson Perumal at Safa House," Sedibe said.

''I put out a challenge to Fifa to inspect my financial records, including those of any person deemed to be connected to me. I said to them if you find anything, even if it's a cent that I cannot explain, and the source of that cent, find me guilty. To date neither Safa nor Fifa has responded to this offer."

Sedibe, who said the NPA ''took a view that there was no evidence of match-fixing on my part'', added that he had refused to co-operate with Fifa's investigation because it asked him for documents to which Safa refused to grant him access.

Goddard also said his hands were clean, according to radio reports.

Investigations were made by Fifa's ethics committee and its security division, which is responsible for fighting match-fixing.

A previous Fifa investigation had looked into warm-up matches that South Africa played against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala in May 2010, ahead of the soccer World Cup. In 2012 Fifa handed Safa a 500-page report that documented the activities of Perumal and his Football 4U organisation. Chris Eaten, then Fifa's security head, said Perumal's firm had provided the match officials for the four games under investigation.

South Africa usually invited match officials from neighbouring countries to handle home friendlies but agreed to Perumal's offer to fly in officials from Kenya, Niger and Togo for the four matches.

The South African team was handed two disputed penalties in a 2-1 victory over Colombia in Jo-hannesburg on May 27 2010.

One of the spot kicks was ordered to be retaken twice after the initial efforts were saved. Colombia's goal also came from a penalty. Four days later South Africa were awarded another two spot kicks in a 5-0 win over Guatemala in Polokwane.

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