Safa welcomes Zuma's match-fixing decision

The president on Friday announced he will not institute an inquiry into the matter.

SAFA announced a probe into match-fixing allegations around Bafana Bafana's 2010 World Cup preparation matches on 23 February 2013. Picture: Reinart Toerien/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Football Association (Safa) on Friday welcomed President Jacob Zuma's decision not to institute a commission of inquiry into alleged match-fixing.

The allegations date back to Bafana Bafana's pre-2010 World Cup international friendly matches.

Zuma made the decision on Friday after Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula called for a commission to look into wide-ranging issues in South African football.

In 2013, Fifa gave the South African government its blessing to look into match-fixing allegations specific to games played before the 2010 World Cup.

But Mbalula insisted a broader investigation was required.

Safa legal committee member Norman Arendse says the matter will not be swept under the carpet, despite Zuma's decision.

"They've agreed not to appoint an inquiry, but that doesn't mean that the match-fixing allegations will not be pursued. We will now be requesting from Fifa to speed up the investigation, which has been coming on since 2009."

Arendse added that if government had set up an inquiry, it would've found it difficult to summon individuals to testify.

He said the inquiry would not have jurisdiction beyond the borders of South Africa.

"The problem that would have arisen is how the judge was going to compel a witness from outside of South Africa to come and testify."

Bafana Bafana's fixtures against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala were placed under investigation.

This after Fifa found evidence the results of the matches were manipulated by referees working for illegal Asian betting syndicates.

Arendse believes Safa made a mistake with regards to the appointment of referees in the investigated games.

"There were irregularities on Safa's side, not with the match-fixing itself, but in terms of contracts that were purportedly entered into.

"How was a businessman allowed to get involved in the appointment of referees in those games? Those are matters of great concern for Safa."

Arendse does not expect any individuals to be arrested, but there remains a strong likelihood that lifetime bans could be imposed.

"If an investigation reveals wrongdoing or misconduct, then the investigator will pass it on to the prosecutor to take action. That could involve bans for life, long bans, or expulsion from football."