Johannesburg - Newly-elected Nelson Mandela Bay executive mayor and South African Football Association (Safa) president Danny Jordaan has confirmed that the 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) paid $10 million (now about R120m) after South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup.
But he has insisted this was not a bribe.
This is the first time that South Africa has confirmed to paying money to a 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.
Warner is one of the officials arrested and indicted this 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 $10m bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010 World Cup.
Jordaan, who was the 2010 LOC chief executive, said that 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. This week several high ranking officials were arrested in Zurich. Warner was arrested in Trinidad.
South Africa is 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 has reliably been informed 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.
The Sunday Independent has discovered that no other football association under Fifa received a similar cash injection during 2008.
And the reason why the Concacaf was chosen above any other members, including those from Africa, was that “it regarded itself as part of the African diaspora”, according to a Safa official.
A damning indictment by US authorities alleged bundles of cash stuffed in a briefcase were handed over at a Paris hotel as a bribe by a “high-ranking South African bid committee official”. 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.
“They can ask all the executives of Fifa that I have engaged with,” said Jordaan, adding: “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 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?”
Asked if he was aware that $10m was paid over by Fifa to Concacaf on behalf of South Africa in 2008, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula on Saturday said: “I am not going to respond to that.
“If you want my response, you better go to the statement I issued earlier in the week or go back to Jordaan, who will then give you all the details you want.”
It was later established that Mbalula had contacted Safa for more information regarding the payment, with the intention of issuing a statement.
No such statement had been issued
at the time of going to press.
Fifa president Sepp Blatter, who has not been indicted, has long been dogged by allegations that he uses “football development” funds as a slush fund, distributing money to soccer officials in each of Fifa’s 209 member nations in exchange for their votes during presidential elections.
Despite the allegations, he has strongly denied that he was involved in any wrongdoing, saying it was not possible to watch everybody all of the time.
The Sunday Independent