The Office of the Chief Executive Premier Soccer League has released the following statement with regards to the alleged bribery and corruption in South African soccer.
In recent weeks, the South African Police Services have arrested a number of referees and club officials on charges of bribery and corruption.
It is alleged that certain league matches were corruptly influenced by the bribing of referees.
The Premier Soccer League wishes to clarify certain aspects relating to this operation.
With regard to the referees. At a meeting of the SAFA National Executive Committee held on 24 July 2004, it was decided that all referees and assistants implicated in this matter, be suspended with immediate effect from all football activities related to their professional services, pending the finalization of their cases with the State.
As far as allegations against certain clubs and officials are concerned, the stance of the League is as follows:
- The League is aware of the allegations against certain clubs and officials, but has no evidence in its possession that would enable it to proceed with internal prosecutions in terms of its rules against any parties at this stage.
- The league has requested SAFA to provide it with any relevant evidence that they have in their possession, but they have been reluctant to do so for fear of prejudicing the ongoing criminal investigation.
- Should the League come into possession of prima facie evidence of bribery or corruption involving any club, player, owner or official within its jurisdiction, it will institute disciplinary proceedings against such club, player, owner or official without waiting for finalization of the pending criminal proceedings. However, until such time it cannot assume the correctness of allegations published in the press and must give the affected parties the benefit of the presumption of innocence.
Should the League still not be in possession of any solid evidence on which it can rely, for purposes of instituting internal disciplinary proceedings by the scheduled commencement date of the 2004/5 season, it must be accepted that the season will commence as per schedule and with the full compliment of clubs in both Leagues, including those recently promoted.
This however does not mean that the League divests itself of its obligations in respect thereof. Accordingly, the League reserves the right to revisit the matter at any subsequent and appropriate stage.