We’re talking match fixing. Not any of the World Cup games from 2010, but the friendlies that came before. A Fifa report has found ‘compelling evidence’ that one or more games involving South Africa were fixed before the start of the tournament, according to the Associated Press.
“The South African Football Association conceded today that it had been “infiltrated” two years ago by now-convicted match-fixer Wilson Perumal and his “bogus” football company Football4U – which was actually a front for Asian betting syndicates.”
The two matches suspected of being rigged were both wins for South Africa — 5-0 over Guatemala and a 2-1 victory against Colombia. It’s important to note that none of the players involved have been implicated, but rather the referees who oversaw the games.
If you’ve read anything Declan Hill has written over the years this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Football, due to the vast amount of games played at all levels, all over the world is susceptible to unwanted attention from the criminal underworld. ‘Football4U’ is not the only syndicate that lies in the shadows, adjudicating who wins and loses.
Safa — the South African Football Association — are expected to meet on Sunday — they’re waiting on the full report to be released. Purging the officials who worked with Football4U will be priority number one. However the damage has already been done. Questions will be asked about World Cup games. Was South Africa’s 2-1 victory against France the product of corruption. Did the Bafana Bafana throw their prior game against Uruguay. Were there other countries involved.
There are hundreds of Wilson Raj Perumal’s out there. Their scope ranges from the CSL to the upper echelons. Casting a skeptical eye towards the beautiful game is not a case of paranoia. Action must be taken.