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South African referee convicted of corruption over fixing, sent to prison for 4 years

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CAPE TOWN, South Africa — A South African football referee was convicted of corruption and sent to prison for four years for his role in trying to fix lower league playoff games in 2011.

The South African Football Association said Clifford Malgas was sentenced Friday to two years in jail for corruption and two years for perjury.

SAFA said in a statement it was still working with police and national prosecutors to "pursue" persons involved in the attempted fixing.

Malgas' conviction followed that of former South Africa assistant coach Phil Setshedi, who received a three-year jail term last year for trying to fix the same playoff games.

At the time, South African authorities said Setshedi's conviction was the country's first for match-fixing.

A commercial crimes court in Cape Town ruled that Malgas had colluded with Setshedi to try and fix games, SAFA said.

Setshedi was caught trying to bribe an undercover policeman who was posing as another referee. Malgas was then implicated as being involved in the attempted fixing during Setshedi's trial, when Malgas also lied under oath.

The case has hit the reputation of the former World Cup host country, which also faces allegations of match-fixing in South African national team games in the buildup to its 2010 World Cup.

FIFA is investigating whether those matches involved corrupt referees from other countries, who allegedly fixed games or parts of games. The fixes involving the South African exhibition games in the weeks before the World Cup four years ago were allegedly masterminded by convicted fixer Wilson Raj Perumal for illegal betting markets.

FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke said this week in South Africa that its investigation had gone on too long and should be completed soon.

"Our commitment is to make sure that this story is closed soon," Valcke said. "We will bring to the South African authorities the results of our investigations as soon as they are closed ... I agree this case should have been closed already."

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