A FIFA report has found "compelling evidence" of match-fixing in games involving host South Africa ahead of the 2010 World Cup. The country had asked FIFA to investigate after a string of suspicious matches.
The South Africa Football Association (SAFA) confirmed on Saturday that it that been "infiltrated" two years ago by now-convicted match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal of Singapore.
Perumal's football development company Football4U paid the SAFA to arrange friendly matches before the start of the World Cup, according to an investigation from FIFA, global soccer's governing body. No players have been implicated in the affair.
"Perumal and Football4U managed to infiltrate the SAFA prior to the World Cup, with an offer to assist with referee development," read a statement from SAFA. "The offer included providing FIFA-accredited referees at their cost for the friendly matches prior to the FIFA 2010 World Cup."
The "bogus" Football4U company was a front for Asian betting syndicates, according to SAFA. Perumal was convicted in Finland in 2011 of running a global match-fixing syndicate.
The Perumal-appointed referees are though to have manipulated one or more matches for betting purposes. Perumal could have been aided by South African officials, SAFA alleged.
In friendly matches before the World Cup, South Africa beat Guatemala by a national record five goals to none, Colombia 2-1 and Thailand 4-0, in addition to drawing 1-1 against Bulgaria.
Questions were raised at the time about the matches, particularly in relation to dubious penalties awarded against Guatemala and Colombia.
South Africa had requested that FIFA investigate the incidents and received its summary report on Friday.
"The report identifies various SAFA officials who interacted with Football4U and recommends that 'further examination' of these officials should take place," SAFA announced.
SAFA CEO Robin Peterson added he would act on the information provided, saying, "We will take action against all who are found to have acted improperly or criminally in this matter."
dr/mkg (AFP, AP)