Four clubs in South Africa’s fourth tier have been given life-time bans after fixing games in a bid to win the league, per the BBC.
Some incredible scorelines emerged at the back end of last month with Matiyasi FC and Shivulani Dangerous Tigers battling for the title.
Shivulani actually led by three points and had a superior 16-goal difference going into the final day. All they had to do was win.
They got the result they needed as they recorded a resounding 33-1 victory over Kotoko Happy Boys.
Incredibly, Matiyasi outdid their title rivals as they beat third-placed Nsami Mighty Birds 59-1.
“Our investigation found that Matiyasi and Nsami wanted to stop Shivulani from topping the league so they agreed on fixing the match to prevent this from happening,” Vincent Ramphago, president of the Mopani region, told BBC Sport Africa.
“After hearing that Matiyasi were leading 22-0 at half-time, Shivulani colluded to remove Kotoko Happy Boys players from the field. The players who came off said they were tired leaving their team with only seven players.
“In the Matiyasi game meanwhile, the referee gave players red cards so that Nsami ended up with seven players.”
South African lower division side Matiyasi FC 🇿🇦 have been BANNED for life after beating Nsami Mighty Birds 59-1, with 41 of the goals scored as own-goals.— Nuhu Adams ™️ (@NuhuAdams_) June 1, 2022
Matiyasi were vying for promotion to the Provincial ABC Motsepe League. pic.twitter.com/6D59M0dmy0
It turns out that Nsami Mighty Birds, despite going down to seven players, actually scored 41 own goals during their 59-1 defeat.
“When we investigated we discovered that some of the Matiyasi goals were not even [properly registered] because the referee was unable to interpret his report,” Ramphago added.
“We found the referee was just writing – ‘player number 2 scored 10 goals, player number 5 scored 20 goals’ and so on – but there were 41 own goals so how were they recording these?”
The teams were much more evenly matched when they met in March. Matiyasi beat Nsami Mighty Birds 2-1 in the first fixture, while Shivulani Dangerous Tigers drew 2-2 with Kotoko Happy Boys.
Gawula Classic finished fourth in the league but have now been declared winners after the three teams above them were banned.
Individuals involved in the games have also been given lengthy bans.
Officials from the clubs have received suspensions of between five and eight seasons, while the match officials have been given ten-season bans.
The players involved in the games will find out their punishments in the coming days, with heavy sanctions expected.
BRUTAL! Egal and Terry CLASH over Darwin Nunez on The Football Terrace…
“These people don’t have respect for football, and we cannot allow it to happen again,” Ramphago said.
“What is sad is there are young players involved because the competition rules stipulate that each team has to field at least five players under 21.
“Our main aim in organising leagues is to make sure we groom the young footballers into potential future Bafana Bafana players.”
What a bonkers story.
End of season quiz: How much do you remember about the 2021/22 season?