And now for the $10 mil­lion African Di­as­pora devel­op­ment rid­dle

CityPress - - Sport - S’Bu­siso Mse­leku sm­se­leku@city­ Fol­low me on Twit­ter @Sbu_Mse­leku

There is some­thing that is usu­ally said about the wheels of jus­tice turn­ing slowly, but grind­ing ex­ceed­ingly fine.

Fifa seems to be ad­her­ing to this say­ing.

It was on De­cem­ber 17 2012 when the SA Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion (Safa) an­nounced the sus­pen­sion of for­mer pres­i­dent Kirsten Ne­matan­dani and four staff mem­bers over al­le­ga­tions of match-fix­ing in­volv­ing Bafana Bafana matches played prior to the 2010 Soc­cer World Cup.

Their sus­pen­sion was trig­gered by an ex­plo­sive Fifa re­port. To date, those men­tioned in the re­port – in­clud­ing the then CEO Les­lie Sed­ibe, Steve God­dard, Adeel Carelse, Ace Kika and Ne­matan­dani – have left Safa for var­i­ous rea­sons. Some have been sanc­tioned and there are pend­ing ap­peals.

This week, the Fifa ad­ju­di­ca­tory chamber of the in­de­pen­dent ethics com­mit­tee banned Ne­matan­dani from foot­ball ac­tiv­i­ties for five years.

The Fifa state­ment on the lat­est de­vel­op­ments reads, in part: “In this re­gard, Mr Ne­matan­dani was found guilty of hav­ing vi­o­lated [ar­ti­cle] 13 [gen­eral rules of con­duct], ar­ti­cle 15 [loy­alty] and ar­ti­cle 18 [duty of dis­clo­sure, co­op­er­a­tion and re­port­ing] of the Fifa code of ethics and was sanc­tioned with a ban from tak­ing part in any foot­ball-re­lated ac­tiv­i­ties for five years.”

Other in­di­vid­u­als who re­ceived vary­ing sanc­tions for an as­sort­ment of in­fringe­ments were for­mer Zim­babwe Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion of­fi­cial Jonathan Musaven­gana and for­mer To­golese na­tional foot­ball team coach Bana Tchanilé.

“The ad­ju­di­ca­tory chamber de­cided that Mr Musaven­gana and Mr Tchanilé had both in­fringed ar­ti­cle 13 and ar­ti­cle 21 [bribery and cor­rup­tion] of the Fifa code of ethics, and im­posed a life ban on the two for­mer of­fi­cials,” the Fifa state­ment reads.

Just as we have seen with for­mer Fifa pres­i­dent Sepp Blat­ter and erst­while Uefa head hon­cho Michel Pla­tini, Ne­matan­dani might still take the mat­ter on ap­peal.

But the lat­est de­vel­op­ments al­most bring to a close the shock­ing news that first ap­peared al­most four years ago that all the glo­ri­ous re­sults Bafana Bafana achieved in the build-up to the 2010 world shindig were cooked.

Now, the stink hang­ing over South Africa’s head is the $10 mil­lion (R137.3 mil­lion at to­day’s ex­change rate) that went to the Con­fed­er­a­tion of North, Cen­tral Amer­ica and Caribbean As­so­ci­a­tion Foot­ball (Con­ca­caf ) for the “African Di­as­pora devel­op­ment pro­gramme”.

De­spite many re­ports, there is still a cloud hang­ing over this as there is yet to be con­clu­sion to the mat­ter. The nar­ra­tive is that the money was given by Fifa to Con­ca­caf on be­half of the South African gov­ern­ment as part of what was to be Safa’s pro­ceeds from the World Cup.

The money was meant for the devel­op­ment of foot­ball in the Con­ca­caf re­gion, a con­fed­er­a­tion that counts the US as a mem­ber and has of­fices in New York. It has been re­vealed that the money ended up in some in­di­vid­u­als’ pock­ets.

How­ever, just as any­one who ques­tioned apartheid was re­garded as an “en­emy of the state”, the $10 mil­lion has taken the form of a swear word in South African foot­ball and gov­ern­ment cir­cles.

Any­one who dares to raise ques­tions about it is viewed as un­pa­tri­otic. Ques­tions about the is­sue go unan­swered.

Just three weeks ago, we learnt that Fifa of­fi­cials were in the coun­try to con­duct fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tions on the mat­ter. Some of the un­ver­i­fied in­for­ma­tion was that they were ac­com­pa­nied by US FBI agents.

Some foot­ball and for­mer South African Lo­cal Or­gan­is­ing Com­mit­tee mem­bers were sum­moned to an­swer some ques­tions around the mat­ter.

Safa is­sued a terse state­ment one Satur­day af­ter­noon dur­ing the visit, but fol­low-up ques­tions were met with deaf­en­ing si­lence.

Gone was the fan­fare that used to ac­com­pany Fifa’s vis­its to this coun­try prior to and after the 2010 ex­trav­a­ganza.

Is there some­thing that is be­ing hid­den?

The Bi­ble tells us in Luke 12:2: “For there is noth­ing cov­ered that shall not be re­vealed; nei­ther hid, that shall not be known.”

Only time will tell. Re­mem­ber, the wheels of jus­tice turn slowly, but they grind ex­ceed­ingly fine.

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