MATCH-FIX­ING HITS SOC­CER

CityPress - - Front Page - TI­MOTHY MOLOBI ti­mothy@city­press.co.za

The ABC Mot­sepe League has been rocked by yet another al­le­ga­tion of match-fix­ing in an on­go­ing cor­rup­tion scan­dal.

City Press has learnt that a club cap­tain and a club of­fi­cial were ar­rested last week­end dur­ing the game be­tween log lead­ers Mac­cabi FC and Vaal Pro­fes­sion­als at Dick Fourie Sta­dium in Vereenig­ing in Gaut­eng.

It is al­leged that the club of­fi­cial ap­proached an op­po­si­tion player and asked him to sway the game in their favour. The vis­it­ing side, Mac­cabi, won 3-1.

A source, who wit­nessed ev­ery­thing, said match of­fi­cials from Limpopo were taken by sur­prise when a war­rant of­fi­cer ap­peared on the field to ef­fect the ar­rest.

“At this time of the sea­son there are cross-bor­der ap­point­ments, and the of­fi­cials came all the way from Giyani. They didn’t even know which game they were go­ing to of­fi­ci­ate, as they were told to con­verge at Safa House on the morn­ing of the game,” said the source, who did not want to be iden­ti­fied.

He said all hell broke loose when the two teams were warm­ing up.

“One of the of­fi­cials from Vaal ap­proached the match of­fi­cials and told them they were go­ing to play the game un­der protest. The of­fi­cial al­leged that one of their play­ers was ap­proached dur­ing the week to help the other team win the game.

“That is when a gentle­man in civil­ian clothes ap­proached them and in­tro­duced him­self as a war­rant of­fi­cer from Vereenig­ing Po­lice Sta­tion.

“The com­plainant pointed out one of the play­ers, who was warm­ing up, and an of­fi­cial. Both were ar­rested on the spot.”

Safa’s le­gal man­ager, Te­bogo Mot­lanthe, con­firmed the in­ci­dent. He said Vaal Pro­fes­sion­als had since lodged a com­plaint.

“Vaal Pros have lodged an of­fi­cial com­plaint against Mac­cabi to say they had in­flu­enced the out­come of the game; they say they have ev­i­dence to that ef­fect. All we know is that peo­ple were ar­rested. We are also car­ry­ing out our in­ves­ti­ga­tions,” said Mot­lanthe.

He said the mat­ter would be taken to a dis­ci­plinary com­mit­tee hear­ing be­fore the end of the week.

Safa spokesper­son Do­minic Chimhavi said this was the tip of the ice­berg, but in­di­cated that the as­so­ci­a­tion was on top of the sit­u­a­tion.

“We are work­ing with the Hawks to stamp out cor­rup­tion ... and we will soon re­veal more,” he said.

Vereenig­ing po­lice spokesper­son Cap­tain Fik­ile Funda con­firmed two sus­pects were ar­rested last Satur­day and were re­leased on R1 000 bail each, adding that the case was post­poned for fur­ther in­ves­ti­ga­tion.

“The pros­e­cu­tor gave us 14 days to ar­rest the third sus­pect. What hap­pened is that three peo­ple ap­proached two Vaal play­ers and of­fered them R2 000 to throw away the game. But our Or­gan­ised Crime Unit got a tip-off that there was go­ing to be a trans­ac­tion at the cor­ner of Voortrekker and Mar­ket streets in Vereenig­ing on March 15, and fol­lowed that up.

“Three un­known peo­ple de­liv­ered the money and our unit in­ter­viewed only the peo­ple at the scene. A case of cor­rup­tion and bribery was opened with the R2 000 as ex­hibit,” said Funda.

He said two sus­pects were ar­rested last Satur­day and the po­lice were look­ing for the third sus­pect.

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