Life bans handed down in Zimbabwe

Names of South African-based players possibly facing bans due later this week

A total of 13 players and officials – some thought to be active in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League – have been handed life bans in Zimbabwe for their part in a match fixing scandal.

A further 70-odd have been handed lesser sentences for their part in what has become known as the ‘Asiagate’ scandal.

Zimbabwe deliberately set out to lose matches on tour in Asia between 2007 and 2009 in return for being paid by Asian bookmakers.

Many of the players involved compete for PSL clubs and once their names are released later this week are likely to be disallowed from playing again.

A full report into the scandal was completed by an independent commission headed by retired judge Ahmed Ibrahim.

It has recommended the life bans plus extensive other sanctions for players, officials and even a sports journalist involved in the scandal.

Seven individuals will be banned from football for 10 years; 37 were handed five year bans; 25 players banned for two years; six for one year and one given a six month sentence. Two players were given six month suspended sentences and eight more players have been exonerated by the committee.

Some 40 players – a sizable number involved with South African clubs – had earlier been cleared by the enquiry.

The names of those banned will only be released after the report, plus additional findings by Zifa, has been handed to the Zimbabwe government and world football’s governing body.

FIFA are expected to extend any bans worldwide, effectively ending the career of many players.

Last week, FIFA president Sepp Blatter said harsh sentences should be handed to those involved in match fixing.