South Africans deceived into match-fixing scandal: FIFA

Cape Town: A FIFA investigation has found that South Africa was duped into match-fixing in the warm-up games leading to the 2010 World Cup.

The South Africans were deceived rather than complicit in any match-fixing, FIFA security chief Chris Eaton was quoted as saying by Xinhua.

"It should also be said that to date there is no information, suggestion or evidence that any player or team, including the national South Africa team, was in any way complicit with any attempt to manipulate a match outcome," he said.

The South African Football Association (SAFA) had taken up an offer from Wilson Perumal, who managed a match-fixing company in Singapore, to procure referees for the games, Eaton said.

Perumal has since been convicted in Finland on match-fixing charges.

A FIFA delegation led by Eaton arrived in South Africa last week on a four-day mission to interview a number of key individuals for suspected involvement in match-fixing.

Match-fixing was suspected in SAFA`s friendly matches against Thailand, Colombia, Bulgaria and Guatemala in the weeks leading up to the World Cup following revelation that the match officials had been provided by a Singapore-based company managed by Perumal.

During the games, SAFA intervened and appointed its own officials, to replace the international referees recruited and supplied by Perumal`s company.

"It is clear that the convicted criminal and football match-fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal, was involved in convincing SAFA to agree to a company then managed by him (Football4U) to select, fund and appoint referees to certain international matches played in 2010, which are now under investigation," Eaton said.


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