March 14, 2016 / 6:03 PM / 2 years ago

Three former South African officials banned over 2010 friendlies

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (Reuters) - Three more former South African Football Association (SAFA) officials have been banned in relation to friendlies played by the national side in 2010, soccer’s governing body FIFA said on Monday.

Leslie Sedibe, a former SAFA chief executive, was suspended for five years and fined 20,000 Swiss francs ($20,250) by FIFA’s Ethics Committee.

Steve Goddard and Adeel Carelse, former heads of SAFA’s refereeing department, were banned for two years, soccer’s ruling body announced in a statement.

The cases were linked to that of former SAFA executive member and head of referees Lindile Kika who was suspended for six years in October.

FIFA said Sedibe, Goddard and Carelse had infringed ethics regulations concerning general rules of conduct, loyalty and disclosure, cooperation and reporting.

Sedibe denied any wrongdoing, saying he had not met convicted Singapore-based match-fixer Wilson Perumal at SAFA’s headquarters to discuss match officials.

“You’ve all been told lies that I met Wilson Perumal at SAFA’s house,” Sedibe said.

”I put out a challenge to FIFA to inspect my financial records including those of any person deemed to be connected to me for purposes of establishing whether I have received questionable payments.

“I said to them if you find anything, even if it’s a cent that I cannot explain, and the source of that cent, find me guilty. To date neither SAFA nor FIFA has responded to this offer,” added Sedibe.

Investigations were conducted by the Ethics Committee along with the security division, which is responsible for fighting match-fixing.

WARM-UP MATCHES

A previous FIFA investigation had looked into warm-up matches that South Africa played against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala in May 2010 ahead of the World Cup, which the country hosted.

In 2012 FIFA handed SAFA a 500-page report that documented the activities of Perumal and his Football 4U organisation.

Chris Eaten, then head of security, said Perumal’s company had provided the match officials for the four games under investigation.

South Africa usually invites match officials from neighbouring countries to handle home friendlies but agreed to Perumal’s offer to fly in officials from Kenya, Niger and Togo for the four matches.

The South African team were handed two disputed penalties in a 2-1 victory over Colombia in Johannesburg on May 27, 2010.

One of the spot kicks was ordered to be retaken twice after the initial efforts were saved. Colombia’s goal also came from a penalty.

Four days later South Africa were awarded another two spot kicks in a 5-0 win over Guatemala in Polokwane.

Match fixing is often organised by betting syndicates who make money by correctly gambling on the result of the match they have manipulated.

($1 = 0.9877 Swiss francs)

Additional reporting by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town and James Macharia in Johannesburg; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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