By Craig McKune

Seventy-five days from now, when the World Cup is over, the international football federation's officials will be flying away with bags of money, saying: "Bye! Suckers."

This is the view of British investigative journalist Andrew Jennings, who says Fifa has banned him from its press conferences so that its president Sepp Blatter would not have to answer potentially revealing questions about corruption in the organisation.

Jennings, who authored a book on Fifa, Foul! The secret world of Fifa: Bribes, vote rigging and ticket scandals, spoke at a Cape Town Press Club lunch on Monday.

He is in town to launch a new book, Player and Referee: Conflicting interests and the 2010 Fifa World Cup, published by the Institute for Security Studies.

The book includes six World Cup case studies, written by investigative journalists, exploring conflict of interest between the public and private sectors that fuel "manipulation through the use of influence, political pressure, bribes, fraud and extortion".

According to Jennings, who calls Fifa "an organised crime setup", his exposes on various alleged cases of corruption by senior Fifa officials had never been legally challenged.

"They won't sue me because Herr Blatter cannot go into court, because if you go into court, you have to be cross-examined," he said.

In Foul!, Jennings details how a Swiss marketing company, ISL, which previously managed Fifa's marketing and broadcast rights, apparently paid "industrial scale" bribes to top officials.

Documentation made public in a Swiss criminal court, Jennings said, suggested Blatter himself could have accepted a bribe.

The Cape Times has asked Fifa many times since February to confirm whether Jennings was banned from its press conferences and why, but it did not answer.

Jennings said it was "remarkable good luck" that, because of mismanagement of the ticketing process, ordinary South Africans will be able to afford tickets.

"They were never intended to have tickets, not if they were living on the lower end of the economic scale," he said.

He said South Africans would pay taxes to cover World Cup expenses for years to come, but at the end of the tournament, "that's the day they're going out through OR Tambo with their bags of money saying: 'Bye. Suckers'."

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