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FIFA OPEN PROCEEDINGS ON MUSAVENGANA

FORMER Zifa development officer Jonathan Musavengana could soon learn his fate on match-fixing allegations levelled against him after formal disciplinary proceedings were opened against him, together with former South African Football Association (Safa) president Kirsten Nematandani and ex-Togo coach Banna Tchanile.  BY HENRY MHARA
The investigatory chamber of Fifa’s ethics committee has recommended Musavengana and Tchanile to be banned for life, while proposing a minimum six-year ban for Nematandani for violating the world football governing body’s ethics code in relation to bribery and corruption.

Fifa released a statement on Wednesday confirming that proceedings had been opened.

“The adjudicatory chamber of the independent ethics committee, under its chairman Hans-Joachim Eckert, has opened formal adjudicatory proceedings against Kirsten Nematandani, former president of the South African Football Association, Jonathan Musavengana, former official of the Zimbabwe Football Association, and Banna Tchanile, former coach of the national team of Togo, based on the final report submitted by the investigatory chamber,” the statement read.

“The investigations concerning Nematandani, Musavengana and Tchanile were conducted by Djimrabaye Bourngar, deputy chairman of the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee, and the final report was passed to the adjudicatory chamber on August 17, 2016.

“In the course of the proceedings, the officials will be invited to submit their positions, including any evidence with regard to the final report of the investigatory chamber and may request for a hearing.

“For reasons linked to privacy rights and the presumption of innocence until proven guilty, the adjudicatory chamber will not publish further details at the moment.”

The trio is accused of manipulating at least one of South Africa’s friendly games in the weeks preceding the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Musavengana was allegedly the middleman in arranging corrupt referees to handle the matches.

The officials were linked to a company controlled by Singaporean match-fixer Wilson Raj Perumal to appoint the referees for the games.

Fifa hasn’t identified the game or games in question, but South Africa’s 2-1 win over Colombia and 5-0 win over Guatemala a couple of weeks before the opening of the World Cup were subject of suspicion. All three goals in the South Africa-Colombia game came via penalty kicks.

There was a collection of bizarre refereeing decisions in the South Africa-Guatemala game. The match was refereed by Niger official, Ibrahim Chaibou, who has also been implicated in other allegedly fixed games.

Even to the casual fan, his calls were suspicious — he called two penalties for hand ball even though the ball went nowhere near the players’ hands. South Africa’s game against Colombia, and an earlier 4-0 win over Thailand in another pre-World Cup friendly, were both refereed by Langat Kipngetich of Kenya.

It is believed that some Safa officials eventually suspected what was happening and prevented Perumal’s referees from taking control of later World Cup warm-up games.

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