South Africa deny paying World Cup bribe to FIFA

Football federation president said a $10m payment was made in 2008 but confirmed it was not bribe for the tournament.

jordaan fifa football
Jordaan was also president of the 2010 Local Organising Committee [Getty Images]

A South African football official has admitted that the country had paid out $10m in 2008 but denied that it was in any way a bribe to FIFA for the 2010 World Cup.

A US indictment said that in 2008 a FIFA official authorised that payment – an alleged bribe from South Africa for the World Cup – through a FIFA account to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner.

According to the indictment bundles of cash in a briefcase were earlier allegedly handed over at a Paris hotel as a bribe by a “high-ranking South African bid committee official”.

The cash was later handed over to Warner.

However, South African Football Association (SAFA) President Danny Jordaan, who was also president of the 2010 Local Organising Committee, said the payment was made to the confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

“How could we have paid a bribe for votes four years after we had won the bid?” Jordaan told South Africa’s Sunday Independent.

“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].”

The payment, he added, was South Africa’s contribution towards CONCACAF’s football development fund.

Warner was the body’s president at the time.

The 2010 World Cup was the first time the event was held in Africa [Getty Images]
The 2010 World Cup was the first time the event was held in Africa [Getty Images]

Meanwhile, Thabo Mbeki, who was president when South Africa won the bid in 2004, becoming the first African country to host the event, has also denied that a bribe had been paid by his government.

“I am not aware of anybody who solicited a bribe from the government for the purpose of our country being awarded the right to host the World Cup,” he said in statement earlier this week, adding “no public money was ever used to pay a bribe”.

He said his government would “never have paid any bribe even if it were solicited”.

Source: AFP