Matches were fixed before 2010 World Cup, says Fifa

 

A FIFA report on match-fixing in the weeks before the 2010 World Cup has found “compelling evidence” that one or more friendly games involving host South Africa were fixed ahead of the showpiece tournament.

The South African Football Association conceded on Saturday that it had been "infiltrated" two years ago by now-convicted match-fixer Wilson Perumal and his "bogus" football company Football4U — which was actually a front for Asian betting syndicates. 

No players have been implicated in fixing matches. Instead, FIFA-approved referees appointed by Perumal's Football4U were thought to have manipulated one or more of South Africa's World Cup buildup games for betting markets. Perumal could have also been aided by some South African officials, SAFA said. 

"The full extent of the web of international crime is now exposed," SAFA chief executive Robin Petersen said after South Africa received the report from FIFA. 

SAFA didn't immediately identify the games but South Africa's 5-0 win over Guatemala and 2-1 win over Colombia in late May 2010 — two weeks before the World Cup kicked off — were under suspicion. 

Three penalties for handball were awarded by Niger referee Ibrahim Chaibou in the South Africa-Guatemala game on May 31, with two of them clearly incorrect. Chaibou is also being sought for questioning by FIFA for his handling of other suspicious games in Africa, Asia and South America, where a high number of penalties were awarded, apparently to feed betting scams. 

All three goals in the South Africa-Colombia game on May 27, which was refereed by a Kenyan official, came from penalty kicks. That match was the official opening of South Africa's redeveloped Soccer City showpiece stadium, which hosted Spain's victory over Netherlands in the World Cup final a little over a month later. 

South Africa also beat Thailand 4-0 and drew with Bulgaria 1-1 in games to prepare for the World Cup. 

"The FIFA report addresses the question as to whether one or more of the pre-World Cup friendly matches was fixed and finds compelling evidence that this was indeed the case," SAFA said in a statement released in the early hours of Saturday, acknowledging the receipt of FIFA's report on Friday. 

SAFA said its emergency committee would continue to study the report compiled by FIFA's former head of security, Chris Eaton, over the weekend and take legal advice before deciding on a course of action. 

After allegations of fixing in the World Cup buildup, SAFA asked FIFA to take over the investigation. The world football body began looking at the matches in March this year. 

While no players were thought to be involved in the fixing, SAFA would now investigate some of its own officials on the advice of the FIFA report to see if they colluded with Perumal's Football4U agency "with criminal intent" to help appoint referees and fix matches. 

"The report identifies various SAFA officials who interacted with Football4U, and recommends that 'further examination' of these officials should take place," SAFA said. 

SAFA had already acknowledged that it became suspicious of the match officials taking charge of some of its pre-World Cup friendlies and decided to replace Chaibou at short notice as referee for South Africa's final warm-up game, a 1-0 win over Denmark on June 5, 2010. 

Singaporean Perumal is now under house arrest in Hungary having been jailed in Finland for fixing games there. Match-fixing scandals have also hit Turkey, Italy, South Korea and South Africa's neighbor, Zimbabwe, among others. 

Zimbabwe's national association recently banned players, coaches and its former chief executive for life for involvement in fixing games for Perumal's betting syndicates on national team tours to Asia as far back as 2009.

Voices
Actor Zac Efron
voicesTopless men? It's as bad as Page 3, says Howard Jacobson
News
peopleOrlando Bloom the pin-up hero is making a fresh start
Sport
Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain drives in the rain during the qualifying session of the Chinese Formula One Grand Prix in Shanghai
sport
Voices
For the Love of God (2007) The diamond-encrusted skull that divided the art world failed to sell for
its $100m asking price. It was eventually bought by a consortium
which included the artist himself.
voicesYou can shove it, Mr Webb – I'll be having fun until the day I die, says Janet Street-Porter
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
filmLife for Leslie Mann's can be challenging sometimes
Extras
indybestFake it with 10 best self-tanners
Sport
Peter Moores was criticised for failing to handle top players when he last led the England team
sportFive years after being sacked from the job, Peter Moores to be named a cricket coach
Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Much of the colleges’ land is off-limits to locals in Cambridge, with tight security
educationAnd has the Cambridge I knew turned its back on me?
Sport
Steven Gerrard had to be talked into adopting a deeper role by his manager, Brendan Rodgers
sportThe city’s fight for justice after Hillsborough is embodied in Steven Gerrard, who's poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
News
Who makes you happy?
happy listSend your nominations now for the Independent on Sunday Happy List
Voices
For music lovers: John Cusack with his vinyl collection in 'High Fidelity'
voices...but don't forget the rest of the year
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
Environment
People are buying increasing numbers of plants such as lavender to aid the insects
environment
News
Ida Beate Loken has been living at the foot of a mountain since May
newsNorwegian gives up home comforts for a cave
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit