Johannesburg – The SA Football Association (Safa) has suspended match officials implicated in the Phil Setshedi match fixing scandal, it said on Saturday.
“The association will also summon the club implicated in this matter to a disciplinary hearing,” Safa said in a statement.
“Should the club or anyone be found liable in this matter, the association will pursue the strongest possible sentence under its rules to demonstrate its zero tolerance to any corrupt behaviour in football.”
The former Bafana Bafana assistant coach was sentenced on Tuesday to three years' imprisonment for corruption.
The Bellville Specialised Commercial Crime Court imposed an additional five years' imprisonment, which was suspended.
“This is a serious statement, match fixing has no place in our society and anyone who might be toying with the idea, be warned,” said Safa president Kirsten Nematandani.
“Match fixing and corruption in football is becoming a global cancer and we as Safa would like to send out a strong statement that anyone caught engaging in this unlawful activity would face the full wrath of the law.”
Safa said its national executive committee (NEC) set up a whistle-blower policy and established the Whistle-Blower Hotline in 2012, which could be used by the public to report any suspicious activities in football.
The Safa NEC would also approve a revised comprehensive anti-corruption policy for approval at the end of March, that would further close any match fixing loopholes.
“Following a series of corruption allegations in the Safa Second Division in 2010, Safa approached the Hawks to assist it in rooting out the scourge,” it said in the statement.
“On the surface, it appeared that an organised effort was underway to fix the outcomes of matches in Safa’s highest amateur league.”
Safa said it provided the Hawks with several leads to possible corrupt activity in football in the two years following the complaints.
These leads led to the sting operation that resulted in the conviction of Setshedi.
“Whilst Safa was able to substitute match officials with ones from other provinces from time to time to prevent matches from being fixed, we had to do something to ensure that the practice is stopped,” said Safa's head of security, Mlungisi Ncame.
Safa then initiated the sting operation on Phil Setshedi in Cape Town in 2011 and worked closely with law enforcement authorities throughout to secure a conviction, it said.– Sapa