By Owolabi Abiola/First Zeal Medi Cast
FIFA has agreed to pay a minimum of R5 million ($380,000) to the South Africa Football Association (Safa) to cover the costs of the tainted 2018 World Cup qualifier that the world football governing body has asked Bafana Bafana to replay in November.
Bafana beat the Senegalese 2-1 in Polokwane in November 2016‚ but the result has since been tainted after referee Joseph Lamptey was found to have manipulated the outcome of the encounter.
The controversial Ghanaian official received a lifetime ban from Fifa for his trouble and while the football governing body confirmed that they had established no wrongdoing on the part of South Africa‚ Bafana were still ordered to replay the match.
Safa CEO Dennis Mumble revealed that Fifa has promised to pick up the bill for the match and the costs could escalate beyond the minimum R5 million cap set by the local football governing body when the final numbers are tallied.
“They (Fifa) have confirmed to us that they will pick up the tab of that match that was played on November 12‚ 2016‚ “ Mumble said.“They realise that we were not at fault and these are wasted costs for us. Fifa have confirmed that they will pay.
“For any international match‚ it depends on the venue and the location‚ but it’s a minimum of R5 million that we spend to put a single Bafana Bafana match together.“It involves the stadium hire‚ it involves transportation‚ the further out the match goes from Johannesburg we must fly out even the visiting team to that destination.”
Mumble explained that according to the rules‚ visiting teams are responsible for flying themselves to Johannesburg but if the match is in another province‚ then Safa picks up the difference.
“And this match took place in Polokwane last year and we had to pay the difference‚” he said.
“As far as the accommodation arrangements are concerned‚ our team is in camp for a week and half before the match itself.
“So all of those accommodation costs and other logistics we have to pay.
“We also have to pay the staff and the match bonuses to the players. We cannot say to the players they must pay back those bonuses – no they played and they must be compensated for that.”
The match will be replayed in November on a date that Safa was planning to use to host the annual Nelson Mandela Challenge friendly between Bafana and an opponent that was yet to be confirmed.
Safa officials use the Nelson Mandela Challenge match to help raise funds for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and Mumble said they would ask Fifa to also consider contributing to the cause‚ given that they’ve had to pull the plug on that charity match to accommodate the replay.
“So we want Fifa to make that donation to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund because we would have raised that money for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund on that date which is now taken up by the Fifa fixture.
“We will ask Fifa to please take into consideration the fact that we make a substantial contribution to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund every year and they have a hospital standing up that needs operating costs to be raised.“We are going to ask Fifa to please make that donation to the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund.”