PRETORIA: Leslie Sedibe, former ceo of the South African Football Association, has launched court action against world federation FIFA after being banned for five years over the 2010 matchfixing scandal writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
A court sheriff delivered a letter of notification to FIFA president Gianni Infantino when he was in Johannesburg last week.
This follows a decision of the FIFA ethics committee, in March last year, to suspend Sedibe and three other former SAFA officials over the scandal surrounding test friendlies played in South Africa on the eve of the country’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup finals.
Concern about the games did not emerge until almost two years later, in February 2012. At the time Sedibe said he had delegated responsibility to other officials for match arrangements with the infamous fixer, Wilson Raj Perumal.
Sedibe is suing FIFA for $5m for defamation on top of a similar lawsuit against SAFA. He has not, apparently, followed the standard route of appealing initially to FIFA and/or the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Lawyer David Swartz has told local media that Sedibe wants FIFA “to publicly and officially withdraw the report on Bafana Bafana match-fixing; withdraw the sanctions imposed on Sedibe; and release a media statement on the retraction of the report – at FIFA’s expense – in the New York Times, The Guardian and two national South African newspapers.”
The letter claims that the ban “damaged our client’s good name and reputation, which, prior to the report, was of the highest standard as our client has always conducted himself in a most ethical manner in all his business ventures and positions he held.
“It is impossible for our client to pursue various business ventures as now any entity or person, in light of the vast negative coverage in respect to the sanctions imposed on him (wrongfully) by Fifa, refuse to deal with him.”