FIFA investigators arrived in South Africa yesterday as part of the world football governing body’s efforts to clamp down on match-fixing.
The team is led by Chris Eaton, FIFA’s head of security, who is investigating claims that more than 300 matches on three continents were influenced by match-fixers.
South Africa’s Sunday Times reportedly claims that matches involving Thailand,Bulgaria,Guatemala and Colombia may have been fixed by Singaporean Wilson Raj Perumal, who is serving a two-year jail term inFinlandfor fixing matches there.
Perumal reportedly arranged the friendly matches for South Africa on condition that he appoints the match officials as an under-prepared national squad desperately sought matches ahead of the global tournament.
In the match between South Africa and Guatemala a number of fishy looking penalties were awarded in the 5-0 win over Guatemala, a record victory margin for the South African national team and a 2-1 triumph over Colombia.
Wilson Raj Perumal is also at the centre of the scandal that rocked Zimbabwe soccer where former Zimbabwe football Association head, Henrietta Rushwaya is alleged to have taken part in a multi-million dollar match-fixing scandal between 2007 and 2009 in which players and coaches of Zimbabwe’s national football team were paid by bookies to lose matches in Asia.
While countries like China are taking initiative to sort out the mess in their domestic leagues, African countries, as always, have to wait for big-brother to come marching in with the Calvary to rescue them.