South African Football Association (SAFA) says it has decided not to appeal a FIFA order to replay their World Cup qualifier against Senegal, saying this is based “on ethical & moral grounds that if this match was manipulated, we should replay it.”
SAFA has decided on ethical & moral grounds that if this match was manipulated, we should replay it.
— Bafana Bafana (@BafanaBafana) September 12, 2017
FIFA ordered that the game, played in November 2016, should be replayed, citing “manipulation” by the referee.
The referee who took charge of that game – Ghanaian Joseph Lamptey – was accused of awarding the Bafana Bafana a dubious penalty, and has since been banned for life.
Neither South Africa nor Senegal is accused of any wrongdoing.
South Africa had initially hinted at appealing that decision, saying it could not accept it since it had no details of the alleged manipulation.
While announcing SAFA’s decision, president Danny Jordaan said his side didn’t want points awarded through manipulation.
“There is a moral and ethical question. We don’t want to be the recipients of the three points if the match has been manipulated,” he said.
With two games to go in Group D of the CAF World Cup qualification, South Africa holds last position after managing 4 points from four games. Senegal comes third with 5 points, while Cape Verde and Burkina Faso both have 6 points, though the latter has a superior goal difference.
The group is still wide open, with all four teams still capable of making it to Russia next year.
No African team has qualified yet, though that is expected to change in the next round of games to be staged in October.
Some teams from outside the continent have however already booked their spots in the June 2018 showdown, including hosts Russia, Belgium, Brazil, Mexico, Japan and Iran.