The South African nation deserves honest answers about
the $10 million (which was R74 million in 2008, but translates to R152 million at today's exchange rate).
It doesn't help for the South African government and
those who were in charge of preparing for and the hosting of the 2010 World Cup to twiddle their thumbs.
Last week, FIFA, the world football governing body,
issued the US government with restitution papers.
In the papers, FIFA claimed that some individuals who
were in positions of trust, defrauded it of millions of dollars under false
They would like to claim the ill-gotten $198 million
that US law enforcement agencies have so far retrieved from 39 defendants.
The 22 page document then drops a bombshell on pages
10 and 11.
First, the document prepared by FIFA lawyers Quinn, Emanuel;,
Urquhard & Sullivan LLP, states: "It is now apparent that multiple
members of FIFA's Executive Committee abused their positions and sold their
votes on multiple occasions."
And then BOOM!
At the bottom of the page, leading to page 11, FIFA's legal
eagles state: "Ultimately, given
Defendant Warner's (Jack Warner, the then Concacaf president) strong illicit
ties to the South African bid committee, the South Africans offered a more
lucrative bribe of $10 million in exchange for Warner's, (Chuck) Blazer's, and a
third Executive Committee member's votes. Warner and his co-conspirators lied
to FIFA about the nature of the payment, disguising it as support for the
benefit of the "African Diaspora" in the Caribbean region, when in
reality it was a bribe. They disguised and funneled the bribe money through the
financial accounts of FIFA, member associations, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup
local organizing committee,"
The last line in this paragraph, reads: "They
breached the fundamental duties they owed to FIFA, CFU, and Concacaf and stole
Since the emergence of the document which was filed
last Wednesday, SAFA has been mum, referring all queries to Sports Minister
Fikile Mbalula "who is the only one allowed to talk on this issue".
Mbalula did not give anything new than what he had
said in his denial of the "bribe" when the matter first emerged after
FBI agents arrested a number of high-ranking FIFA officials last May in Zurich.
By the weekend, the SAFA communications department was
flaunting around a "denial" by FIFA in a statement purportedly issued
by Head of Media
Communications & Public Affairs Division, Delia Fischer.
email titled "FIFA clarifies 2010 payment", contained the following
FIFA STATEMENT ON THE RESTITUTION
CLAIM TO THE US DISTRICT COURT
17 March 2016
FIFA’s Request for
Restitution is based on the allegations contained in the two indictments issued
by the U.S. Department of Justice against 41 defendants. In its submission,
FIFA is restating these allegations as the principal basis for its restitution
have pleaded guilty to the charged offenses and admitted their crimes. FIFA
intends to seek restitution from these defendants for their misconduct, as well
as any other defendants who are convicted.
The US indictments
do not allege that South Africa "bought" the World Cup with bribes.
Nor does FIFA. The US indictments, which FIFA is relying upon in its
restitution request, merely accuses certain individuals of criminal behaviour.
Fischer Head of Media Communications & Public Affairs Division
The key line they relied on, was the one that read: The
US indictments do not allege that South Africa "bought" the World Cup
with bribes. Nor does FIFA."
Well, you could have knocked me down with a feather!
The lines that I have extracted from the FIFA Victim
Statement and Request for Restitution, states it loud and clear.
South Africans are left with so many questions and
they deserve answers.
Some of the questions are:
Who made the decision to "donate" $10
million to Concacaf?
Was the "donation" ever discussed at any of
the LOC meetings?
Can we see minutes from that meeting?
Was that "donation" recorded in the LOC and
FIFA financial statements? If so, please show us the entry.
Satisfactory and honest answers will finally put this
matter to rest.
Oh! One last question, if South Africa gave this money
above board for the Diaspora programme, now that it has emerged that it ended
in some individual's back pocket, why is South Africa not joining FIFA in
their application for restitution as a "victim"?
It's as simple as that.S’Busiso Mseleku is regarded as one of Africa's leading
sports journalists and an authority on football. He has received some of
the biggest awards in a career spanning well over 20 years. He is
currently City Press Sports Editor.
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