SA Rejects Claims
SA Rejects Claims: South Africa’s sports minister on Thursday denied that his country had paid a $10 million bribe to help it win the right to host the World Cup in 2010. “South Africa did not pay any bribe nor did it illegally obtain the right to host the World Cup,” Fikile Mbalula told a news conference in Cape Town. We paid money to a legacy project in the African diaspora in the Caribbean,” Mbalula said, adding that the money had been intended for a legitimate project and had been paid to the Caribbean Football Union by Fifa on South Africa’s behalf. “It was a resolution of the South African government, together with Fifa, to support the (African) diaspora, and that is why it is on our plate. It was our policy to support our African brothers around the world in projects based around the World Cup.”
Fifa said former executive committee members Jack Warner, who has been banned for life but denies wrongdoing, Chuck Blazer, who has pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering, and other individuals had engineered the payoff from South Africa. Mbalula said the allegations had badly hurt “brand South Africa” and the legacy of “the most successful World Cup in Fifa’s history”. “We did not bribe. We did everything according to the book. But if others were found to have bribed, then let them explain,” added Mbalula.