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Fifa scandal: South Africa denies $10m World Cup bribe

  • 42 minutes ago
  • From the sectionAfrica
SA fans at World Cup 2010
South Africa was chosen ahead of Morocco to host the 2010 World Cup
South Africa has denied paying a $10m bribe to secure the 2010 World Cup, in the wake of a US inquiry into corruption at world football body Fifa.
Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said the money in question was above board and intended to support football in the African diaspora in the Caribbean.
The Fifa scandal erupted last week when US prosecutors indicted 14 people.
On Tuesday, president Sepp Blatter said he was to step down, just days after he had been re-elected for a fifth term.
Of the 14 people indicted by the US on charges of racketeering and money laundering, seven were senior Fifa officials, including two vice-presidents. The seven were arrested in Switzerland as they awaited the Fifa congress that re-elected Mr Blatter and are currently awaiting extradition to the US.
The US justice department alleges the 14 accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than $150m (£97m) over a 24-year period.
The homepage of the Interpol website is seen through a magnifying glass in this picture illustration taken in Berlin, Germany on 3 June 2015.
Interpol has issued alerts for six people, including Fifa officials, under investigation by the US
US officials quoted in the New York Times also said on Tuesday that Mr Blatter, 79, was under investigation as part of the inquiry. They said they hoped some of the Fifa figures charged would help to build a case against him.


US officials allege South Africa paid a $10m bribe in exchange for support for its 2010 World Cup bid from former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner and several other members of the North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf).
But in a press conference on Wednesday, Mr Mbalula said South Africa “categorically denied” the allegation, adding that the money went towards an approved programme to help the development of football in the Caribbean.
The money went into a fund controlled by Mr Warner.
Fifa finances
In a passionate defence of South Africa’s integrity, Mr Mbalula railed against those who sought to be “world policemen”, adding “we believe in multilateralism not unilateralism”.
He added: “It is for the British and the Americans to fight their battles and… we’ll never be part of the vested interests. We have fought colonialism and defeated it and we still fight imperialism and we will fight it whenever it manifests itself.”
Separately, Interpol issued a wanted persons alert for two former Fifa officials, including Jack Warner, as well as four corporate executives. All six were on the list of US indictments last week.
Announcing his resignation on Tuesday, Sepp Blatter said it appeared the mandate he had been given in last Friday’s Fifa vote “does not seem to be supported by everyone in the world of football”.
He said he would continue in his post until an extraordinary congress was called to elect a new president.
No dates have been set, but it is expected to take place between December this year and March 2016.
When he returned to Fifa on Wednesday, Mr Blatter was reportedly given a 10-minute standing ovation from about 400 staff and was said to be close to tears as he told them they were a “fantastic team” and they should “stay strong”.
Mr Blatter’s daughter, Corinne Blatter-Andenmatten, is quoted by Swiss Daily Blick (in German) as saying her father’s decision to resign “has nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the allegations going around”.
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Analysis: Richard Conway, BBC Sport, Zurich
Sepp Blatter’s key advisers cut dejected figures last night as their boss announced he was stepping aside.
The air of despondency in Zurich contrasts sharply with that in the rest of Europe. English Football Association chairman Greg Dyke and others who have pushed for reform rejoiced at the news that the man who has controlled Fifa with an iron grip since 1998 was finally going.
The question now turns to who will replace Mr Blatter. What sort of Fifa will the winner inherit if the promised radical reforms take place? What next for the World Cup hosts Russia and Qatar?
Unless the electoral process changes dramatically, Asian and African countries will once again be the power brokers.
Given anti-European sentiments amongst many nations in those continents, the winner will need to be acceptable to all sides.
With Prince Ali of Jordan backed by Uefa, could he now return and claim the Fifa crown he was denied by Mr Blatter last Friday?
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A separate criminal investigation by Swiss authorities into how the 2018 and 2022 World Cups were allocated is also under way.
Australian football chief Frank Lowy said in an open letter on Wednesday that the race to win the 2022 bid, which was awarded to Qatar, was “not clean” and that he had shared what he knew with the authorities

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