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Football | South Africa

Kirsten Nematandani © Gallo Images

Interpol called into Safa investigation



Interpol has been called in to assist with a criminal investigation into the match-fixing scandal involving Safa, the Hawks said on Thursday.

"There are individuals of interest who are abroad, who we are interested in going to, [in order] to get to the bottom of this case," said Hawks spokesman Paul Ramaloko, explaining the involvement of Interpol.

This week the SA Football Association (Safa) suspended its president, Kirsten Nematandani, and four senior administrators after the release of a Fifa report.

The report alleged match-fixing took place in relation to warm-up games played during the 2010 world cup soccer tournament held in South Africa.

Ramaloko said the Hawks investigation into the matter began after a case of corruption was registered on Tuesday.

"The investigation is at an early stage."

Nevertheless, "individuals of interest" had already been identified.

Ramaloko said that while the monetary figure involved in the alleged match-fixing could not be confirmed, the corruption case was being investigated in terms of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act.

"Section 15 [of the act] is talking about the sporting fraternity. If any element of match-fixing is picked up, we will be looking at any contravention of this act."

Fifa handed over the report about alleged match-fixing to Safa last week.

Subsequently, it was announced that Nematandani, Safa COO and interim CEO Dennis Mumble, head of referees Adeel Carelse, head of national teams Lindile Kika, and former head of national teams Barney Kujane, would take a voluntary administrative leave of absence after their names were mentioned in the Fifa report.

They would all give evidence in a commission of enquiry that was to be set up.

Safa said it had apologised to Fifa after "compelling evidence" was found that the results of World Cup warm-up matches were fixed.

The report was completed by the global body's former head of security, Chris Eaton, after it emerged that a bogus football development company, Football 4U, provided referees for the warm-up matches.

The company was later discovered to be a front for an Asian-based betting syndicate headed up by Wilson Raj Perumal, who was later convicted of match-fixing.

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