German sportswear company Puma has curtailed its contract with the South African Football Association amid match-fixing allegations surrounding its national team.
A FIFA report last year claimed referees were bribed to fix the outcome of friendly games against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala in the build-up to South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup. The SAFA initially suspended five leading officials in light of the allegations but reversed this decision in January, stating they were removed from office improperly.
Puma, which replaced rival Adidas as South Africa’s kit provider in 2012, criticised the SAFA’s methods of dealing with the match-fixing controversy in explaining its decision to end the partnership after less than two years. “Following match-fixing allegations made against SAFA along with inappropriate responses from within the football organisation (including the suspension of senior officials), Puma terminated the contract with immediate effect,” Puma said in a statement.
Earlier this week, the Soccer-Laduma website reported that financial services group Absa would not renew its sponsorship of the South African national team when its current deal expires in December. South Africa has failed to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.