Cape Town - Sports minister denied Thursday that bribes were paid
to win the right to host the 2010 Soccer World Cup, as FIFA seeks to claw back
money from officials facing graft charges in the United States.
world governing body this week issued a wide-ranging acknowledgement of
what it called "brazen corruption" in a demand for "victim restitution"
made to US authorities.
The claim to the US Attorney's office in
New York said a $10 million bribe was paid from South Africa to get
votes for the country's World Cup bid -- but FIFA backed away from
directly accusing South Africa of bribery.
"South Africa did not
pay a bribe nor did it conspire to illegally obtain the rights to host
(the) 2010 FIFA World Cup," Fikile Mbalula told reporters in Cape Town
as he defended the country's record over the tournament.
of $10 million was made through FIFA into an account controlled by Jack
Warner, a disgraced former FIFA vice president from the Caribbean
accused by US authorities for accepting bribes.
US investigators believe the money was a bribe to secure South Africa's selection as host of the 2010 competition.
African government and national football officials have repeatedly
denied accusations that they paid the money to secure the right to host
the first such tournament on the continent.
the $10 million payment was an honest donation to support football among
the "African diaspora" in the Caribbean.
"The matter was above board and was approved by FIFA," Mbalula said.
is now ludicrous and insane for anyone to seek to cast an aspersion on
our country by suggesting that we were part of syndicate to defraud."
Africa considers it as an insult to reduce one of its hallmark
programmes that recognise the struggles and achievements of African
people around the world to a mere caricature, an incubator for bribery,'