Local sport

Safa Vhembe refs suspended for unethical conduct

The suspended referees and assistant referees are set to appear before the region’s referee disciplinary committee.

LIMPOPO – Three referees affiliated with Safa Vhembe have been suspended due to allegations of match-fixing and accepting bribes to influence match outcomes.

The allegations stem from a match on May 11 between Vuwani United Sports Academy and Masakona Real Citizens where the implicated officials are said to have solicited a R1 800 bribe from the owner of Real Citizens to ensure a favourable ruling.

Real Citizens are currently tied with Mashau Pull Together on points in Stream F and are close to qualifying for the regional Champ of Champs, which leads to the provincial playoffs for promotion to the SAFA Limpopo ABC Motsepe League.

The suspended referees and assistant referees, whose names are withheld, are set to appear before the region’s referee disciplinary committee.

Safa Vhembe initiated an investigation after the owner of Real Citizens recorded the bribery demands and refused to pay.

Sam Matodzi, the secretary of Safa Vhembe confirmed the suspension, emphasising the association’s commitment to fair play. “Football matches should be decided on the field, not through gambling. Therefore, Safa Vhembe is adopting a zero-tolerance policy against match-fixing and unethical conduct,” he stated.

Matodzi added that Safa Vhembe is implementing a combined repressive and preventative strategy, encouraging all teams to report any signs of attempted match-fixing or unethical behaviour immediately.

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