The South African Football Players Union welcomes all intentions and efforts to eliminate corruption and match-fixing in football. While Daily Sun reporter, Maxwell Ramaru, claims that “Allegations of foul play are already threatening to disrupt the PSL Promotion/Relegation play-offs currently underway,” his back page article on the newspaper’s 27 May 2015 issue is threatening the lives of all players involved in the play-offs. Football is a contact sport and players get injured at any time of the game.
Maxwell stated that his team, SunSport, “understands that some players were told to under-perform and to take injuries to weaken their clubs.” This puts players that might be injured in the upcoming games at an unnecessary risk, a result of irresponsible reporting. A player can get injured in the first or last minute of a match and can perform poorly even against their will and application towards the match. This is part of the football game and something that clubs, officials and players themselves do not have control over.
The views, judgement and perception of the general public, officials and administrators on player performances in the remaining fixtures are bound to be clouded by these force-fed allegations. The South African Football Players Union calls out those responsible for these allegations to report this matter to the relevant body and stop feeding the masses half-baked stories, while the necessary investigation takes place. It’s either they tell us the story with full details or not tell us at all. Happy-go-lucky reporting is not welcomed in football, especially around a sensitive issue such as match-fixing.
Irresponsible reporting is worrisome. It was further reported that the “whistle-blower” said that a highly rated player was allegedly ordered to pretend to be injured so he could be replaced early in the match. We would hate to believe that there are players involved in match-fixing. However, should there be, they should be named and shamed. Hearsays have cost a lot of lives. We shouldn’t put the lives of these players on the line as well. This kind of reporting where players are painted as the people who are likely to sell games compromises and puts their lives in danger.
This should not find space in front or back pages of newspapers if such allegations cannot be proven. Match-fixing is a serious and punishable offence and these allegations should be allowed the correct process. The lack of evidence should have been enough of a reason for SunSport to throw Ramaru’s write-up outside the window. The scores of player participating in the play-offs are now under unnecessary pressure and their lives and future could be at risk because of some allegations about the payers’ involvement in match-fixing without any proof whatsoever.