South Africa pledges support for fixing probe

AP, Tuesday 28 Jun 2011

The South African Football Association said Tuesday it will cooperate fully if FIFA investigates allegations of match-fixing in two warmup games leading up to last year’s World Cup

South Africa

Two days after reports that two friendlies involving the World Cup host were being investigated as part of a wide-ranging FIFA probe into match-fixing in world football, SAFA said it “wanted to believe” the matches were fair but promised action if any of its officials are involved.

FIFA won’t confirm or deny if it is investigating South Africa’s 5-0 victory over Guatemala last May, one of South Africa’s final games before the 2010 World Cup.

FIFA confirmed, however, it is currently involved in a “large-scale investigation” into fixing.

South Africa’s Sunday Sun newspaper reported last weekend that the South Africa-Guatemala game on May 31, 2010, and a South Africa-Colombia friendly four days earlier were both suspected of being manipulated and were being probed.

South Africa’s game with Guatemala was refereed by Niger’s Ibrahim Chaibou, who handled a Nigeria-Argentina friendly in June which FIFA is investigating unusual betting patterns for possible fixing.

SAFA said it didn’t know if FIFA was investigating the two matches.

“We would like to take this opportunity to assure FIFA of our unqualified cooperation and support should they institute any form of investigation,” SAFA said in its statement. “Should any of our administrative members be found to have played any role in the matter … the Association will, without hesitation, take appropriate action against the culprits in order to protect its integrity and for the good of the game.

“As things stand, we want to believe that the matches under question were played in the spirit of fair play.” 

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