Under-fire Jordaan provides ammunition for his detractors

2015-06-05 14:51
Danny Jordaan (Gallo Images)
Already under fire for attempting the complex task of combining his duties as SAFA president with those of mayor of the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality, Danny Jordaan has ironically provided his detractors with further damning ammunition.

The mounting pressure on Jordaan has emanated from his last-minute decision not to attend the fateful FIFA congress in Zurich last week at which the highly controversial Sepp Blatter was re-elected for a fifth term as president - only to resign four days later amid allegations of his involvement in one way or another in the massive bribery allegations that have blighted world soccer's controlling body over the past 10 days.

Jordaan explained his surprise decision to miss out on one of the most fateful meetings in FIFA history, where his presence should have been mandatory, to the fact that in his role of mayor he had told members of the Nelson Mandela Bay Council that travel costs needed to be cut by the cash-strapped body.

"It would have seemed contradictory if I then travelled to Zurich immediately afterwards," the dual mayor-president reportedly explained in an interview.

But with the costs to go to the FIFA congress for his still-born attendance due to be paid by the South African National Football Association (SAFA), Jordaan's explanation only provided striking evidence as to how his mayoral duties  were proving detrimental to the interests of SAFA - with their main man skipping out on what was clearly a critical occasion for world soccer generally and South Africa in particular.

The SAFA president poo-pooed the suggestion that he had skipped going to Zurich for fear of being interrogated by Swiss or United States investigators into the bribery scandal - or even arrested along with other FIFA officials if it was alleged he had  played a part in the redirecting of R120 million of FIFA money for the 2010 World Cup to now-suspended and charged former Concacaf president and disgraced FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.

"How could I be arrested when I have not even been charged or linked to any bribery issues?" asked the SAFA president.

Some observers, however, have pointed out that the United States Department investigating the FIFA bribery scandal have claimed two as yet unnamed top South African soccer officials had handed Warner's son a case of 10 000 US dollar bills at a clandestine meeting in Paris.

As yet, neither of the two South Africans have been named by the USA investigators, with South African Minister of Sport, Fikile Mbalula, denying at a media briefing in Johannesburg on Wednesday that neither the government or the South African World Cup Organising Committee had been involved in bribery while obtaining the right from FIFA to stage the 2010 World Cup.

"We are seeking further evidence and clarification from the United States regarding their investigation into bribery involving members of FIFA and South Africa," added the Minister of Sport, "because we know nothing about this matter and have never been involved in bribery."

Mbalula did, however, admit that in correspondence from former SAFA president, Molefi Oliphant, FIFA had been authorised to allocate $10 million to Warner for the development of soccer in the Concacaf region.

"But this was not a bribe," said Mbalula. "It was an authorised and legitimate payment from money allocated from the World Cup budget."

Why Concacaf? To assist in the soccer development of the African diaspora in the Caribbean, said Mbalula.

However, nothing was revealed as to who, if anyone else, had authorised Oliphant to send the $10 million request to FIFA for the ongoing distribution to Warner and Concacaf.

Also, while notices advertising the Sport Department  media conference in Johannesburg had stated members of the World Cup Organising Committee would be present, none attended.

Read more on:    fifa  |  danny jordaan  |  soccer  |  fifa bribery scandal

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