A Fifa investigator says that the first stage of his probe into international match-fixing has turned up no evidence implicating South Africans.
A handful of Bafana Bafana games in the run-up to the 2010 World Cup are under investigation, including friendlies against Colombia and Guatemala.
But security head Chris Eaton revealed that convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal convinced South Africa’s FA to appoint referees through his company.
Perumal is currently in a Finnish jail.
The Singaporean was jailed for two years in July 2011 for his part in a match-fixing scandal in Finland’s top division.
Perumal is also believed to have played a role in Zimbabwe’s tour of Asia where a number of international matches were fixed, although the current probe centres on games involving South Africa shortly before the 2010 World Cup.
The outcome of friendlies against Thailand, Colombia, Bulgaria and Guatemala in the weeks leading up to the tournament are all in question after Fifa found the match officials had been provided by a Singapore-based company fronting for match fixers.
Eaton’s comments follow a four-day trip by Fifa’s outgoing security director to Johannesburg to interview those involved and investigate any potential duplicity.
“Firstly, 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 to select, fund and appoint referees to certain international matches played in 2010 which are now under investigation,” Eaton was quoted as saying in a Safa statement.
“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.”
In May 2010, the month prior to the World Cup, the tournament hosts beat Colombia 2-1 and Guatemala 5-0 in two friendlies.
The games were notable for featuring the awarding of three penalties apiece in both games.
As Eaton enters the second stage of his probe, which is being handled with the full cooperation of Safa, the Australian has stressed the need to interview more referees and review further documents.
Athletics: Okagbare Begins Preparation For Tokyo 2020
Blessing Okagbare, yesterday started her preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics at the National Trials.
The opening day of the Tokyo 2020 National Trials will see Okagbare competing in the 100m against highly rated Grace Nwokocha
Okagbare, the 8th time national champions is the favourite to win the event again, but Grace Nwokocha remains one of her biggest threats.
The American-based track queen won the championship from 2009 to 2014 and returned to win the 2016 edition after missing out in 2015.
Despite her qualification for the Olympics, Okagbare will be hoping to continue her winning streak and go to the Olympics in high spirits.
Apart from the 100m finals expected to take place in the afternoon, there will be shotput men final with all eyes on Chukwuebuka Enekwechi.
LAA Holds Lucrative Track Meet, Next Week
The Lagos State Athletics Association has announced it would be holding a lucrative Athletics Meet on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at the Teslim Balogun Stadium.
Yussuf Alli, who is the Meet Director for the Lagos Open Athletics Championship, made the disclosure on Wednes-day even as he revealed that arrangements were in top gear to have an elite cast of athletes in the one-day meet.
According to Alli, the Lagos Open Athletics Championship will simultaneously serve as a qualifying window for the Tokyo Olympics as well as a preparatory event for athletes that have already qualified for the sporting showpiece.
“This is another fantastic window for those seeking to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics as well as those seeking quality competition to stay in shape for the Olympics,” Alli said.
“The Lagos State Athletics Association, which is one of the most vibrant in the country, is out to organise a world-class event that would be the talk of the town as we count down to Tokyo,” he added.
The list of events to be competed for at the Lagos Open Athletics Championship include, the 5,000 meters, 400 meters hurdles, 100 meters, 800 meters, 400 meters and 100 meters.
There would also be quality action in the 4×100 meters open, 4×100 meters open and 4×400 meters mixed relay.
Long jump, High jump, Triple jump, Shot put as well as 4×100 secondary schools relay and 4×100 secondary schools relay have all been pencilled down for the maiden Lagos Open Athletics Champion-ship.
Organisers have assured that the top three finishers across all the events will receive handsome prizes for their efforts.
S’ Falcons Bow To World Champions
The Super Falcons of Nigeria lost 2-0 to world champions, USA, in their final Group game at the 2021 Summer Series in Texas, USA.
The result means the African champions failed to win any of their three matches at the invitational tourna-ment, drawing one and losing the other two.
Kristen Press gave the Americans the lead on the stroke of half time, and before Lyn Williams killed Falcons hope of getting a draw with the second goal on the dot of 90 minutes.
With the victory, the world number one has now gone 42 games without tasting a defeat .As for the Falcons, the aim of participating in the Summer Series was to prepare them for a crucial 2022 African Women’s Champion-ship eliminator against perennial rivals, Ghana in October.
The African Women’s Championship will serve as qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
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