FIFA has issued a statement denying that its general secretary, Jerome Valcke, or any of its senior management team made a $10m payment that is central to a bribery investigation engulfing world football’s governing body.
A US indictment alleges that in 2008 a FIFA official authorised the $10m payment – an alleged bribe from South Africa for the World Cup – through a FIFA account to a former vice president Jack Warner.
“In 2007, as part of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the South African government approved a [$10m] project to support the African diaspora in Caribbean countries as part of the World Cup legacy,” FIFA said in a statement on Tuesday.
“The payments totalling [$10m] were authorised by the then chairman of the Finance Committee [Julio Grondona who died in 2014] and executed in accordance with the Organisation Regulations of FIFA.
“Neither the Secretary General Jerome Valcke nor any other member of FIFA’s senior management were involved in the initiation, approval and implementation of the above project.”
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”.
US investigators believed that the money was paid as bribe in exchange for Warner and others voting to give the 2010 World Cup to South Africa.
However,a South African football official had earlier admitted that the country had paid out $10m in 2008 but denied that it was in any way a bribe.
South African Football Association 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 as contribution towards its football development fund.