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Last Updated: Monday, 19 July, 2004, 14:13 GMT 15:13 UK
No delay to SA league
Referee Petros Mathebela was questioned by police
Petros Mathebela is one of the referees under investigation
South Africa's Premier Soccer League (PSL) season will kick off as planned next month despite the arrests of 33 referees and officials in a match-fixing crackdown.

"We do have enough referees... Operation Dribble doesn't affect the start of the season," PSL Finance Director Ronnie Schloss said on Monday.

South African media have speculated that the reduced pool of referees available to officiate at league matches would interfere with the start of the league season on 7 August.

Those arrested over the past five weeks in a police probe code-named Operation Dribble are mostly referees but include club directors and other officials and match commissioners.

Now it's up to the department of public prosecutions to decide how to proceed
Police spokesman Selby Bokaba
South African football has long been rife with allegations of corruption but the wave of arrests shocked an establishment still celebrating winning the right to host the 2010 World Cup.

All 33 of those arrested have been released on bail. And police spokesman Selby Bokaba said he was not expecting any more people to be arrested in the near future.

"Now it's up to the department of public prosecutions to decide how to proceed," said Bokaba.

He added: "All of them have made brief court appearances. We've done our investigation."

The investigation was requested by the South African Football Association several months ago after repeated allegations of cheating in the country's lower leagues.

The probe was widened to include the PSL, the most lucrative league in Africa.

A brief statement on SAFA's website said police had provided it with a progress report on the investigation and confirmed there would be enough referees to start the season as planned.

"The Association is satisfied with the result achieved by this exercise," it added.


SEE ALSO
SA league may be delayed
02 Jul 04  |  African
Police arrest Safa official
07 Jul 04  |  African
The referee's view
09 Jul 04  |  African
Bribery probe long overdue
02 Jul 04  |  African



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