FIFA $ 10m Did Exist But it Was No Bribe, Says South Africa’s Jordaan

June 1, 2015

By Christian Radnedge

The president of the South African Football Association, Danny Jordaan, has admitted that his country did route $10m to CONCACAF in 2008 but denies that it was a bribe in return for South Africa winning the right to host the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

The money in question emerged in the US Department of Justice investigation into allegations of corruption in football which saw 14 people indicted last week. Seven people, including CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb, were arrested in Zurich ahead of the FIFA Congress where Sepp Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as president.

Jordaan led South Africa’s World Cup bid and was chief of the local organising committee but he maintained to local media that the $10m was a donation towards the Carribean’s football development fund.

The South African was quoted as saying: “I haven’t paid a bribe or taken a bribe from anybody in my life. We don’t know who is mentioned [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 [strict] regulations [and] could authorise payments of a maximum of R1 million.”

Jordaan pointed out that the $10m was paid four years after the award to South Africa by FIFA in 2004, adding: “How could we have paid a bribe for votes four years after we had won the bid?”

The US indictment alleges that Chuck Blazer, general secretary of CONCACAF and FIFA exco member at the time, “learned from Jack Warner that high-ranking officials of FIFA, the South African government, and the South African bid committee, were prepared to arrange for the government of South Africa to pay $10m to ‘support the African diaspora’.

Blazer apparently then later found out the South Africans “were unable to arrange for the payment to be made directly from government funds.

“Arrangements were thereafter made with FIFA officials to instead have the $10m sent from FIFA – using funds that would otherwise have gone from FIFA to South Africa to support the World Cup – to [the] CFU.

“In fact, on January 2, 2008, January 31, 2008 and March 7, 2008, a high-ranking FIFA official caused payments of $616,000, $1,600,000, and $7,784,000 – totalling $10 million – to be wired from a FIFA account in Switzerland to a Bank of America account in New York held in the names of CFU and CONCACAF, but controlled by the [then CONCACAF] president [then Trinidadian Jack Warner].

“Soon after receiving these wire transfers, the president [Warner] caused a substantial portion of the funds to be diverted for his personal use.”

In a statement on Thursday, the South African government denied any knowledge of payments and said that their books for the 2010-11 financial year had been audited and were clear.

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