South African Football Association (Safa) president Dr Danny Jordaan believes match manipulation took place during Bafana Bafana’s defeat by Ghana in their Fifa World Cup qualifier this past Sunday.
Post-match, Safa lodged a formal complaint with Fifa and Caf, which highlighted many controversial issues and questionable refereeing decisions throughout the game.
The most-talked-about and analysed incident was when Senegalese referee Maguette N’Diaye controversially handed Ghana a penalty after Daniel Amartey was allegedly fouled by Rushine De Reuck, although replays suggested there was minimum contact.
After the game, former Fifa referee Ace Ncobo widely criticised the officiating of N’Diaye, claiming that he got 89.3% of his calls wrong in the first half of the match.
Ncobo’s assessment of the game prompted Safa to lay a formal complaint with Fifa, with Jordaan since calling on the world football governing body to investigate the allegations.
“Immediately after the match, there was an outpouring of emotions in our country. I phoned the CEO, who was with the match officials, and I asked him to inform them that we are going to challenge the outcome of the match,” Jordaan said at a media conference on Wednesday.
“We are concerned with certain decisions in the match, so we are asking for an investigation into match manipulation of the match.
“Of course, we have to say, what is match manipulation? So we asked Mr Ace Ngcobo to analyse it and to see if there is a pattern that may have had an influence on the final outcome of the match. We’ve received a report and he must’ve watched for 10-11 hours.
“We are here to inform the nation about the events that happened at Cape Coast that shocked us. Fifa has the responsibility to uphold the integrity of global football.
“In February 2020, Fifa appointed a company called Sports Radar to monitor each and every match to monitor the integrity of the competition. Our responsibility of Safa is to prove whether there is any bias against our team and, if so, report it to Fifa.
“Match manipulation of a match is when there is unlawful influence or unlawful directive of the match or unlawful influence on the outcome of the match.
“It can be manipulated for financial gain or for sporting gain. Was there a conspiracy to win the match or to favour one team in the match? Was there a deliberate action of the referee in the match? We asked Mr Ace Ngcobo to see whether, in his view, there was a deliberate or wrong guiding of the match by the referee.
“Did the referee deliberately give a red card, give a yellow card, give a penalty, or anything that is not in line with the law of the game? It would be a deliberate neglecting of his duty to take action in the match. Did he deliberately not take decisions in the match, with the intention to influence the outcome of the match?
“Did the referee fail to award a free kit, a yellow card, a red card, a penalty? Did he deliberately neglect the rules of the game? We asked Mr Acew Ngcobo to confirm whether there was a bias against Bafana that influences the outcome.”
Jordaan added that they received information showing how the betting market spiked in favour of the Black Stars, which further proves his point of match manipulation.
“Was there betting on the match? Yes, there was betting on the match. According to the bookmakers, there was a mistake in the favourite and it is a fact that there was betting on the match,” he added.
“What we want is for Fifa to analyse the influence on the match. Was there information on the penalty, then there was a betting spike on the decision that was going to happen.
“We don’t have the capacity to do that and we’ve asked Fifa to look into it.
“The last issue is, was the profile of the match such that there was interest outside of football and, yes, there was. If Ghana loses, there were major problems even for the president of the country.
“There was another message that said there would be penalties in the match, if not two but one. So, we are asking Fifa again to look into these things and apply their mind, whether all these things were normal.
“It was a very important match, a decisive match. Anything but a win for Ghana would mean they are out. That’s why we asked Fifa to look into these things and analyse what really happened.
“We have to respect the laws of the game and protect the integrity of the game.”
He concluded: “We said if the penalty was wrongly given, we said we would replay the match against Senegal.
“This time the boot is on the foot, and we can only leave the matter in Fifa’s hands.”
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