This is probably the first time when a national level soccer official has been sentenced to a jail term for his match fixing involvement. A former assistant national coach of South African national team Phil Setshedi has been punished for a seven years’ jail term for his attempt to fix a match back in 2011. He reportedly tried to bribe 2000 rands to a police officer, who was pretending to be a match referee in front of him, but caught red handed by the crime squad. The same coach has also been convicted of corruption in last December. Out of current eight years spell, he will serve only three years in jail as remaining term has been suspended by the hearing court. This is the first official from South African region to be convicted of match fixing especially after the shocking revelation by European investigators. European match investigation agency Europol revealed more than 680 matches which are suspected to be fixed few days ago and many of them are also related to South Africa.
Phil Setshedi was arrested in June 2011 after South African football associated handed him over to the police after their internal inquiry. A Bellville Commercial Crimes Court started hearing the case in November 2001 and within approximately one year it pronounced its sentence remarking his crime as intolerable. Magistrate Sabrina Sonnenberg told about the growing match fixing problem in world soccer today and how South Africa can contribute to eradicate it by punishing all convicted of match fixing so that no one could even think about fixing a soccer match.
Back home, South African football association has welcomed the sentence offered to its former coach. Its president Mr Kirsten Nematandani said, “Once again, this sends out a strong warning to anyone who might intend to tarnish the good name of the sport through corrupt and any other unsporting behaviour. In accordance with FIFA and SAFA’s zero tolerance to corruption and match fixing, we would like to warn other potential criminals that the long arm of the law would not spare you.”
Magistrate S Sonnenberg also rejected defense attorney Marcello Steven’s plea that since this is his first time his full sentence should be suspended. Judge said, there is no first time as far as corruption, especially match fixing is concerned; hence accused is liable to serve at least three years in jail.