Safa suspend Kirsten Nematandani and four others over match-fixing report

The South African Football Association has suspended the president and four other officials in the wake of a report into a pre-World Cup match-fixing scandal

South African Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani plus four staff members, including the organisation’s newly-promoted chief executive officer Dennis Mumble, have been suspended from duty following the fixing of the results of four warm-up matches that South Africa played in preparation for the 2010 World Cup.

A Fifa investigation into the activity of convicted Singapore match-fixer Wilson Perumal and his Football 4U organisation blamed the five South African officials, a press briefing was told.

The results of matches against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala in the weeks leading up to the 2010 World Cup were found to have been pre-arranged to benefit an Asian betting syndicate.

Fifa issued its initial report on the matches last week and an Emergency Committee from the Safa held a meeting on Sunday where they considered and accepted the report as received.

Safa has essentially acknowledged its guilt in the matter and will now seek to root out the individuals within the organisation who the associations feels are responsible.

The Committee also noted that the appointment of Football 4U International was never brought to the attention of the Safa National Executive Committee, suggesting that rogue individuals were to blame. 

Safa said that the following actions had been agreed at Sunday’s emergency meeting by way of a statement released on Monday:

1. That a Commission of Enquiry be set up, under the leadership of a retired Judge, to fully investigate the matter and the members cited in the report, and that this Commission sit as a matter of urgency so that the issue can be speedily resolved.

2. After extensive discussion, the Emergency Committee felt that the President [Nematandani] would have to appear before the Commission of Enquiry to explain his role in the matter. Having considered the implications of this for Safa, the Committee asked the President to take a voluntary leave of absence from his position.

3. That Vice-President, Chief Mwelo Nonkonyana, be asked to act as President in the interim.

4. That all members of staff mentioned in the report who will need to give evidence at the Commission are likewise put on special administrative leave pending the finalisation of the Enquiry, or pending receiving a clearance from the Commission.  This action in no way implies that these individuals were involved in match-fixing.  It is again simply for good governance that this measure is being implemented.  The members of staff so affected are:  Dennis Mumble, Lindile ‘Ace’ Kika, Adeel Carelse and Barney Kujane.

5. The former CEO, Lesley Sedibe, and the former Head of Referees, Mr Steve Goddard, will also be asked to give evidence and cooperate with the Enquiry.

6. That Pinky Lehoko is appointed as Acting CEO in the interim.

Outgoing CEO, DR Robin Petersen, stated that these decisions were necessary for good governance and for allowing this matter to be thoroughly and properly investigated.  Although he will be assuming his new role as CEO of the Safa Development Agency in January 2013, he will be based in the Safa offices and will work closely with Ms Lehoko in the interim period.

"We need to allow the investigation to take place speedily and fairly, so those that are innocent can be separated from those who are not,” he said.

Perumal is currently under house arrest in Hungary for match-fixing, having also served a two-year jail term in Finland for the same offence.