The man Wilson Raj could not corrupt

The man Wilson Raj could not corrupt

'THAT STUBBORN OLD MAN'

He was offered bribes, received threats and was even told he would be eliminated.

All for challenging the influence of Wilson Raj Perumal, the kelong king.

Mr Steve Goddard, 67, is the former head of referees in South Africa.

Was he afraid?

He said: "I was not surprised. The fear (of being harmed) did cross my mind because I knew I was not dealing with an amateur.

"But I told myself I was doing the right thing."

What he did was to block Wilson's attempt at expanding his kelong cartel in South Africa.

In his e-book Kelong King, Wilson Raj, 48, described Mr Goddard as a "very obstinate old man" who proved to be a "big troublemaker". He even described his nemesis as a "limping old man with a stick".

In a grudging compliment, he wrote of Mr Goddard: "If it weren't for him, we would have been in cruise control in South Africa."

Back in 2010, Wilson Raj and his kelong cartel was attempting to fix pre-World Cup friendlies in South Africa. The World Cup was held there that year.

The New Paper first reported about this in November 2011.

To try to fix the matches, Wilson Raj needed match officials.

So he approached the South African Football Association (Safa) suggesting a referee-exchange programme in which his company, Football 4 U, would bear the cost of providing match officials for friendly matches.

Wilson Raj had claimed he wanted to give African referees exposure.

REPLACED 'KELONG' REF AT LAST MOMENT

An associate of Wilson Raj offered Mr Goddard a 30,000 rands (S$3,600) bribe to be the face of Football 4 U's referee-exchange scam, said Mr Goddard.

But not only did the South African refuse the bribe, he went on to actively try to foil Wilson Raj's syndicate's plans.

In 2010, South Africa was to play Denmark in a friendly and Wilson Raj wanted to have his man officiate the match.

So he got the appointed official to pull out, citing illness.

When one of Wilson Raj's accomplices attempted to install the notoriously-crooked match official Ibrahim Chaibou as his replacement, Mr Goddard rushed to the stadium and replaced the "sick" referee with his own man.

Chaibou, and several matches he officiated, are now the subject of a Fifa investigation.

Wilson Raj himself had admitted in his letters to TNP that Chaibou, who is from Niger, was on his payroll for the 2010 friendly between a fake Togo team and Bahrain in Manama, Bahrain.

THREATENED BY WILSON RAJ

Mr Goddard was even threatened when he intervened after one of his match officials was replaced.

It happened when the South African Football Association replaced his referee with one of Wilson Raj's appointees for the match between Nigeria and North Korea.

Mr Goddard alerted a member of the Nigerian delegation, not knowing that he, too, had been "bought" by Wilson Raj.

The Kelong King said in his book: "I could see what Goddard was trying to do. He was hoping that the Nigerians would lodge a complaint so that he could replace my ref with his."

Enraged, Wilson Raj called Mr Goddard and threatened him.

In a Fifa report, Mr Goddard told Fifa security that Wilson Raj told him that he had "gone too far" and intimated that he would be "eliminated".

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