PRETORIA: Danny Jordaan has confirmed that South Africa did route $10m to CONCACAF in 2008 but has refuted suggestions that the money was a bribe in return for winning World Cup host rights writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association, was head of the World Cup bid effort and then chief executive of the local organising committee in 2010.
The money, which was routed through a FIFA account, was described by Jordaan as South Africa’s contribution towards the Caribbean’s football development fund.
On Saturday, at a press conference, FIFA president Sepp Blatter refused to ask questions about who at FIFA had sanctioned rerouting the payment.
The $10m emerged in the indictment of 14 people by the United States Justice Department last Wednesday. Seven, including two confederations presidents in Jeff Webb (CONCACAF) and Eugenio Figueredo (South America) were detained in an early-morning raid at a luxury hotel in Zurich two days before the congress of the world federation.
Paragraph 188 refers to an offer by the South African government “to pay $10m to the Caribbean Football Union to ‘support the African diaspora.’”
South Africa was duly awarded the 2010 World Cup by FIFA in May 2004. No monies were paid at that point.
Later it emerged that the South Africans “were unable to arrange for the payment to be made directly from government funds.
“Arrangements were thereafter made with FIFA officials to instead have the $10m sent from FIFA – using funds that would otherwise have gone from FIFA to South Africa to support the World Cup – to [the] CFU.
“In fact, on January 2, 2008, January 31, 2008 and March 7, 2008, a high-ranking FIFA official caused payments of $616,000, $1,600,000, and $7,784,000 -totaling $10 million – to be wired from a FIFA account in Switzerland to a Bank of America account in New York held in the names of CFU and CONCACAF, but controlled by the [then CONCACAF president [then Trinidadian Jack Warner] .
“Soon after receiving these wire transfers, the [Warner] caused a substantial portion of the funds to be diverted for his personal use.”
Under the norms understood to have existed at the time within FIFA, payments of such a sum would have had to be counter-signed by both the finance director and the general secretary.
Jerome Valcke, currently secretary-general of FIFA, took over the role in the summer of 2007 from Urs Linsi.
Jordaan has now been reported by South African media as saying: “I haven’t paid a bribe or taken a bribe from anybody in my life. We don’t know who is mentioned [in the indictment] – and I don’t want to assume that I am mentioned.
“During my tenure as ceo at the 2010 World Cup organising cCommittee, I was bound by [strict] regulations [and] could authorise payments of a maximum of R1 million.”
Jordaan noted that the $10m was paid four years after the award, adding: “How could we have paid a bribe for votes four years after we had won the bid?”