PRETORIA: South Africa President Jacob Zuma appears to have backed down from a threat to cut across FIFA’s long-running attempt to get to the bottom of matchfixing ahead of the 2010 World Cup finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

Bafana Bafana matches against Thailand, Bulgaria, Colombia and Guatemala in the weeks immediately before South Africa’s finals hosting came under suspicion after FIFA uncovered evidence that the results had been manipulated by referees working for illegal Asian betting syndicates.

Last November Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general, said the international footballing body had referred the investigation to Michael Garcia, its own investigating prosecutor, after the South African government stalled on promises to assist with a joint inquiry.

At the time, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula complained that the country could and would resolve the issues itself.

Now Zuma’s office has released a statement confirming the investigation will be done by FIFA and not his non-existent commission of inquiry.

Zuma was jeered by fans when he attended the midweek international in which South Africa were defeated 5-0 by Brazil.