By Andrew Warshaw
September 19 – The saga over South Africa’s soon-to-be-replayed World Cup qualifier against Senegal rumbles on with group rivals Burkina Faso appealing to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
After expressing serious reservations about FIFA’s order to replay last November’s game because of “match manipulation” by the referee, South African football chiefs decided not to appeal, agreeing to the replay “on ethical and moral grounds”.
The official in question, Joseph Lamptey, has been banned for life but Burkino Faso, who lead Group D of regional qualifying and are desperate to qualify for Russia, say FIFA’s ruling adversely affects them since Senegal, who lost the original game 2-1, are suddenly back in contention.
The revised group standings has Burkino Faso and Cape Verde on six points with Senegal one behind. Senegal have the chance to overhaul both leaders if they win the replayed match, with only the group winners qualifying for the World Cup finals.
In a statement, The Burkina Faso Football Federation (FBF) said it “continues to oppose a decision that is tainted by abuse of power and irrelevant to the texts of the international football authority.”
“The FBF will not accept the extremely rare decision” taken by FIFA and has therefore gone to CAS “in view of the serious consequences that could result from such a decision for the other teams in the group, and particularly for the Burkina Faso team.”
Nowhere in the Fifa disciplinary code, claims Burkino Faso, is there any mention of replaying a fixture because of match-fixing but CAS will have to work fast since the game is slated to be replayed in November.
Explaining why they changed course, a South African Football Association statement said last week it had decided to comply with Fifa’s directive since South Africa “cannot be beneficiaries of corrupt activities” though local reports alleged they were more worried about funds being withdrawn if they dug their heels in.
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