A South African football coach admitted the country paid $10 million in 2008 but denied the money was a bribe to the International Federation of Association Football. An indictment unveiled last week by the U.S. Justice Department accused several current and former FIFA officials and marketing executives of corruption, bribery and racketeering.
"How could we have paid a bribe for votes four years after we had won the bid?" Danny Jordaan, president of the South African Football Association, pointed out to South Africa's Independent on Sunday. "I haven't paid a bribe or taken a bribe from anybody in my life. We don't know who is mentioned there [in the indictment].”
The indictment alleges a FIFA official allowed the payment of $10 million in 2008 to the World Cup through a FIFA account to Jack Warner, the organization’s former vice president. The indictment said large bundles of cash were reportedly handed over at a hotel in Paris in a briefcase by a “high-ranking South African bid committee official.”
FIFA President Sepp Blatter could also be questioned about the alleged bribe.
"The OAG [Office of the Attorney General] is questioning those FIFA Executive Committee members who are not Swiss residents who voted back in 2010 [when the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were awarded to Russia and Qatar] and are still in office," Andre Marty, a spokesman for the Swiss attorney general’s office, told Agence France-Presse.
Jordaan said the $10 million was made to the confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football and was simply a contribution toward Concacaf’s development fund. Warner was Concacaf’s president at the time.
"We frown upon any insinuations made in the indictment by the U.S. authorities that suggest that the government of South Africa or any of its citizens have been involved in any wrongdoing without substantiating the allegations, let alone naming the alleged co-conspirators," Minister of Sport Fikile Mbalula said, adding he refused to allow FIFA’s reputation to be harmed.
“We view this as an attack on our sovereignty,” he added.