Fifa President

Allegation of corruption in the world’s football body, FIFA, is becoming messier by the day. South African Football Association (SAFA) president, Danny Jordaan, has confirmed that the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) paid $10 million after South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

This is the first time that South Africa has confirmed paying money to the football association then led by former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, the man at the centre of the bribery claims that have rocked the soccer governing body in the past few days.

Warner was one of the officials arrested and indicted last week by the FBI in connection with alleged corruption and bribery at FIFA. The admission follows a week of denials from local football authorities and the government that South Africa had paid a $10 million bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.

Jordaan, who was the 2010 LOC Chief Executive, said the $10m was paid to the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) in 2008 as South Africa’s contribution towards their football development fund. Warner was at the time president of CONCACAF. Last week several high-ranking officials were arrested in Zurich.

Warner was arrested in Trinidad. South Africa was alleged to have promised to pay Warner $10m for his support for the 2010 bid.

After South Africa won the vote‚ football officials allegedly said it was not possible to pay him out of South African government funds. Instead‚ the money was deducted directly from a payment FIFA made to South Africa to help finance the hosting of the tournament, thereby concealing the alleged bribe. It is alleged that Warner, in return, paid two other FIFA executives.

Of the $100m (about R1.2 billion), which FIFA had to pay SAFA for hosting the 2010 World Cup, The Sunday Independent reported that SAFA only received $80m. FIFA had deducted $20m ($10m for the building of SAFA House and the other $10m was for the “CONCACAF development fund”). Jordaan said the money was directly paid over to them by FIFA.

It is not clear if this $10m is the same amount that the FBI is investigating. The name of the South African official has not been revealed. Jordaan said the 2010 Bid Committee concluded its business with the awarding of the World Cup on May 15, 2004.

“I haven’t paid a bribe or taken a bribe from anybody in my life. We don’t know who is mentioned there (in the indictment). And I don’t want to assume that I am mentioned. During my tenure as CEO at the 2010 World Cup Organising Committee, I was bound by regulations set out in the Schedule of Delegated Authority (SODA).Under that authority, I could authorise payments of a maximum of R1 million,” Jordaan said, adding that South Africa won the 2010 World Soccer Cup bid on May 15, 2004 and the $10m was only paid by FIFA to CONCACAF in 2008. “How could we have paid a bribe for votes four years after we had won the bid?,” he asked.

Dike Onwuamaeze


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