Molefi Oliphant mum on 2010 allegations

2015-06-03 15:23
Molefi Oliphant (Gallo Images)

Cape Town - The man whose signature is at the bottom of a letter to FIFA general secretary Jerome Valke authorising the payment of $10m to Concacaf - alleged by US authorities to be a bribe - declined to comment on the matter on Wednesday.

Former SA Football Association president Molefi Oliphant, when contacted by News24, said it was "out of order" that he was being contacted shortly after Sports and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula had held a news conference in Johannesburg addressing the same matter.

He did not take questions and referred to the statement made by Mbalula at the media conference.

At the news conference on Wednesday afternoon, Mbalula again denied that the South African government or 2010 Local Organising Committee (LOC) paid a bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup in South Africa.

"We would like to categorically deny that we bribed anyone to secure the rights for the 2010 World Cup," Mbalula told a packed SAFA House.

Blatter’s resignation

The news conference got under way more than half an hour late and there was a major change to the line-up as neither Safa officials or 2010 LOC members were present, despite the initial SAFA media invitation stating "Min of Sport, Fikile Mbalula & members of 2010 WC LOC will hold Press Conference at SAFA House (12h00) on Wed 3 June".

Mbalula's second press conference on the matter came shortly after FIFA hastily arranged for Sepp Blatter to speak to the world's media on Wednesday, where he shocked the football world by announcing his resignation after 17 years in charge of the football organisation.

Mbalula started off by responding sharply to questions as to why the LOC was not in attendance.

"The LOC was disbanded. It has served its purpose," said the sports and recreation minister.

Mbalula said the South African government stands by its May 31 statement wherein they refuted any and all claims that South Africa was involved in paying any bribes "to secure the rights of the 2010 World Cup", said Mbalula.

‘Not getting caught up in battle between FIFA, US’

Regarding the allegation that the $10m payment was a bribe to secure votes so that the 2010 Soccer World Cup be hosted in South Africa, Mbalula said: "The payment of $10m to an 'above board' programme does not constitute a bribe."

Mbalula said the government was still waiting on a response from a query about the indictment but "we have not yet heard back from the US authorities and have asked them to contact us".

"We refuse to get caught up in a battle between the United States authorities and FIFA. FIFA must speak for FIFA".

The department's director general Alec Moemi said resources were allocated and government had not received a breakdown on how the money was used by the Diaspora Legacy Programme.

Mbalula, pointing out exactly whose decision it was to create the Diaspora Legacy Programme, said: "It was the decision of the South African government and SAFA. The main actor in the play? Molefi Oliphant."


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