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FIFA opens SAfrican match-fixing probe

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JOHANNESBURG (AP) - FIFA says its ethics committee prosecutor is going ahead with an investigation into allegations of match-fixing in international exhibitions in the buildup to the 2010 World Cup.

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FIFA said in a statement to The Associated Press that Michael Garcia, the chairman of FIFA's ethics committee investigating chamber, has ''decided to open a preliminary investigation on the alleged cases.''

FIFA has found strong evidence of fixing in games involving South Africa in the weeks before the World Cup, with allegations that referees manipulated the games for illegal Asian betting syndicates.

FIFA agreed in April to allow the South African government to set up an inquiry. But there has been no progress, leading Garcia to start the investigation.

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