South African Sports Minister Denies World Cup Bribe

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(WFI) South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said in a press conference Jun. 3 that the country paid out no bribes to secure the 2010 World Cup.

Fikile Mbalula (Getty Images)
"We indicated that we stand by our statement that the government of the Republic of South Africa has not bribed anyone to secure the rights of the 2010 FIFA World Cup,” Mbalula said.

“We also indicated that we frown upon the allegations that suggest that South Africa has paid the bribe. We also clarify that payments made for approved projects can never be construed as bribery."

On Jun. 2, a letter from FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke showed that $10 million was to be allocated by FIFA from the 2010 World Cup organizing committee to fund a South African Diaspora Program in the Caribbean.

The money was to be paid to the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football president Jack Warner, who controlled the fund. Warner is one of the FIFA officials indicted on counts of corruption by the United States Department of Justice on May 27.

Mbalula said that the fund never came from “the coffers of the [South African] government” and that the country “will never compromise our sovereignty” in regards to claims made in the investigation.

FIFA, on Jun. 2, said in a release that the South African government and South African Football Association worked with the 2010 World Cup organizing committee in 2007 to approve and fund the project from the LOC’s budget. The organization distanced itself from the project, despite the circulated letter from Valcke.

“The payments totaling $10 million were authorized by the then chairman of the Finance Committee and executed in accordance with the Organization Regulations of FIFA. FIFA did not incur any costs as a result of South Africa’s request because the funds belonged to the LOC,” FIFA said in a statement.

“Both the LOC and SAFA adhered to the necessary formalities for the budgetary amendment. Neither the secretary general Jérôme Valcke nor any other member of FIFA’s senior management were involved in the initiation, approval and implementation of the above project.”

By INSIDER writer Aaron Bauer

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