A soccer match between Colombia and South Africa has come under the spotlight in a match-fixing probe, reported international media Monday.
The May 2010 match, played as a warm-up to the World Cup held in the African nation that summer, is one of four friendlies involving the tournament hosts which have come under review.
The game, which finished 2-1 to South Africa, was withdrawn by UK bookmakers Ladbrokes from their betting market mid-way through the fixture, following Giovanni Moreno’s goal for Colombia, which tied the game at 1-1. At the time, Ladbrokes said it was not due to unusual betting activity, but also stated their intention to launch an investigation in to the match.
Now it appears that the game may have been one of a number of friendlies arranged by Singaporean businessman Wilson Raj Perumal, who is currently imprisoned in Finland on separate match fixing charges.
Perumal apparently arranged friendlies for South Africa on the condition that he appointed the referees from his “international referees exchange program,” part of a scheme involving betting syndicates in Asia.
The other matches under examination, all of which took place in 2010, include a record 5-0 win for South Africa against Guatemala, as well as games against Thailand and Bulgaria.
The referees involved were from Nigeria, Togo and Kenya.
According South African daily Business Day, then-CEO of the South African Football Association Leslie Sidibe said no contracts were signed with Perumal or his company Football4U.