South Africa has denied FIFA’s claim that a $10 million (£6.95m) bribe was paid to win the right to host the World Cup in 2010.
The money, which was intended for the Caribbean Football Union to ‘support the African diaspora”, eventually ended up in bank accounts controlled by disgraced former CONCACAF president Jack Warner.
“South Africa did not pay any bribe nor did it illegally obtain the right to host the World Cup,” Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula told a news conference in Cape Town.
He asked Fifa to retract its statement made on Wednesday, when it sought restitution in US courts from former Fifa executive committee members it said had accepted bribes in the awarding of World Cup hosting rights.
“We paid money to a legacy project in the African Diaspora in the Caribbean,” Mbalula said.
Mbalula said he was now looking to hold clear-the-air talks with president of FIFA Gianni Infantino.
“It is important for us to meet with the president of FIFA to clarify all the issues that they seek clarity on in the handling of the 2010 World Cup,” said Mbalula.
“There is no allegation against Danny Jordaan that I know of, he continues to exercise his mandate as SAFA president.
“We have asked anyone involved who knows of anything sinister to come forward, if there were any irregularities that we are not aware of then we are prepared to collaborate with US authorities.”
The minister also added that the money didn’t come from the government but from the 2010 Legacy Fund.
”Money didn’t come from SA government or the LOC, but the Legacy Fund, it is not us or FIFA who can say that this money was bribery but the authorities,” adds Mbalula.
“This money was for development, at a later stage it came to our attention that it was not used for it’s intention.
“That is something that we frown at and we are taken aback, there was no follow-up from our side.
“It didn’t go underground or via a suitcase, it was traceable and the 2010 FIFA World Cup remains the greatest World Cup ever.”