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Monday, 12 August, 2002, 13:12 GMT 14:12 UK
Arrest damages SA bid
Mark Fish
Investigators are examining the transfer of Fish to Lazio

South Africa's hopes of winning the bid to host the 2010 World Cup bid have been damaged by revelations of the criminal career of the bid committee's chairman Irvin Khoza.

The 'Iron Duke' of South African soccer, who is vice president of both the country's Football Association and professional league, is known as the man who wields power from behind the scenes.

He keeps out of the media spotlight but controls the running of the game in the country.

But his recent arrest on tax evasion charges have brought to light details of his criminal past, which is likely to cause much embarrassment to South Africa's World Cup cause.

Khoza, who is chairman of Soweto glamour club Orlando Pirates, has already settled some outstanding bills with the taxman after a US$7-million tax probe.

Fraud

But he faces further possible prosecution now that an investigation has been launched into his transfer deals with Jomo Sono, the former Bafana Bafana coach, and their part in the sale of Mark Fish and Helman Mkhalele to clubs in Europe after the 1996 African Nations Cup finals.

Sunday newspapers in South Africa said Khoza had put the proceeds of the transfers - Fish to Lazio in Italy and Mkhalele to Turkey - into a trust account, rather than that of the Orlando Pirates club.

Sono shared in the proceeds as the players were originally from his club Jomo Cosmos and has already given his version of the saga in a sworn affidavit to police.

But more damaging to South Africa's World Cup cause is the revelations of Khoza's murky past.

He has twice been convicted of insurance fraud, but both times avoided jail by paying a fine.

He was also arrested in Zambia in 1983 for possession of the drug Mandrax but released after paying a fine.

Dealing in Mandrax is popular in South Africa, where the pill is crushed with marijuana to heighten the drug's effect.

Khoza's former associates include two drug kingpins, one of whom is now serving a life sentence for trafficking in Dubai.

The newspaper revelations cast aspersions on the legality of the fortune that Khoza is said to have amassed over the years and more importantly for South African soccer, the integrity with which he can lead the 2010 bid.

Fifa have not yet formally called for bids for the 2010 and South Africa are still busy putting together their infrastructure for the bid organisation.

But their cause has been done no good by the embarrassing revelations.

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BBC Sport's Mark Gleeson
"This setback does their cause no good"
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