Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Asiagate To benefit other nations : Gumede

ZIFA vice-president Ndumiso Gumede believes that Zimbabwe's experience with the Asiagate scam will benefit fellow African associations in their bid to avert and combat match-fixing which is threatening to hamper football on a global scale. Gumede was part of a Zifa delegation that attended a Fifa/Cosafa and Interpol

workshop on regional integrity which ended in Johannesburg, South Africa on Sunday.
Sport and Recreation Commission chairman, Charles Nhemachena, presented a paper on Zimbabwe's experience with match-fixing where they shared with Fifa, Interpol and Cosafa members, the challenges they have faced in trying to bring the Asiagate scandal to some logical conclusion.

Nhemachena, who also felt that Zifa's experience had touched the region, later emerged from the workshop to admit that the probe was a "necessary but huge and costly exercise,'' which warranted national support for Zifa.
Gumede was flanked by Zifa board member finance Elliot Kasu , the association's chief executive Jonathan Mashingaidze and Nhemachena as he faced the media and reckoned that such countries like Mozambique and Zambia, which had not yet been affected, had lauded Zimbabwe for giving them a practical experience of dealing with match-fixing.

"Zimbabwe's experience has virtually opened the eyes of other associations who think that they could sooner or later be targeted by match fixers.
"From the discussions we held we have also now resolved to go back home and somehow get the whole nation to appreciate the threat of match fixing and corruption through use of the Sports Commission. We also need  to find people to propagate this through the SRC and as Mr. Nhemachena has already indicated, we will push for legislation that will target match-fixing and outlaw it in the country's statutes and allow for seizure of assets that would have been bought directly

from proceeds of match-fixing.

''We could also use peer educators to raise awareness of the dangers of match-fixing using such people like Peter Ndlovu who have a more direct influence on the younger players who have become the latest target of match-fixers.
"From now on all Zifa courses be it for referees, administrators, coaches, they will have a section of training on dealing with match-fixing and how the trends can be observed,'' Gumede said. Nhemachena also urged all sporting associations in the country to also fight the threat of age cheating, which felt had a huge bearing on corruption in sport.

"We should also have a programme of surveillance of the match-fixers who may want to target players and we should not ignore interactions of players with suspicious characters like what happened the other time with Musona and Karuru… we should actually be worried about such cases.
"Where the stakes are high, like in the forthcoming game between Zimbabwe and Angola, there is need to redouble the security and surveillance efforts,'' Nhemachena said.

Kasu also made no secret of the fact that their conclusion of their Asiagate probe could be scuppered by lack of funding and said they had appraised new Fifa head of security Ralf Mutschke about the complexity of their situation.
"As a general policy of Fifa they are not supposed to be funding associations on match-fixing but when we sought an audience with Ralf and appraised him of the processes which we went through, the uniqueness of the Zimbabwe situation and the magnitude of the problem we will have if we do not get financial support.

"So even if Ralf's budget is exhausted we have suggested that they can try to get money from elsewhere to help us,'' Kasu said. Zifa's counterparts in South Africa are also at across roads as they seek to conclude their probe into allegations that some of Bafana Bafana's matches before the 2010 World Cup were fixed.
Questions as to when the conclusion of the inquest can be expected produced distinctly different responses at the workshop.

Safa says it is still waiting for Fifa to conclude the investigation into allegations that the referees for Bafana's friendly games in May and June 2010 were provided by an Asian match-fixing syndicate.
It is alleged that in games against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia, Guatemala and Denmark, dubious penalties were awarded.

However, Mutschke said at the weekend's match-fixing workshop that it was waiting for a report from Safa before proceeding further.
The workshop was conducted in Johannesburg by Interpol and the world football's governing body.
Fifa's previous security chief, Chris Eaton, who was in Johannesburg in March, had promised to wrap up the case urgently.

Fifa wanted to get to the bottom of exactly which Safa official decided to employ a shady Asian company to bring in referees to take charge of the Bafana games.
The world soccer governing body had confirmed that Safa had been taken in by Wilson Raj Perumal from Singapore, who offered free referees for the friendlies.

Ordinarily, Safa would have arranged its own referees from neighbouring countries for the matches. Fifa wants to know why Safa suddenly accepted an offer fromPerumal, an unknown individual.
Perumal who was jailed in Finland for match-fixing entered into talks with former Safa CEO Leslie Sedibe to be a match agent for future Safa activities.
As a sweetener, Perumal arranged and paid for the referees for the friendly games in question
By Sbue
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