FIFA Bribe Allegations Surround South Africa’s World Cup Bid

FIFA Bribe Allegations Surround South Africa’s World Cup Bid

Bribery allegations formed part of a detailed indictment from US Attorney General Loretta Lynch regarding South Africa’s successful bid to host the 2010 World Cup, with the 160-page indictment referencing the payment of a $10million bribe requested by FIFA officials at the time.

These allegations have been brought to light following the arrest of 14 FIFA officials and marketing executives this week, as a result of a criminal investigation by US authorities on the basis of corruption charges worth an alleged $150m.

The indictment lays out the narrative that Jack Warner, a FIFA vice president and a representative of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), solicited a bribe of some $10m from the South African government and the host bid committee.

According to the document, it is alleged that the South African government was unable to pay the $10m directly from available government funds, and “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 CFU.”

The indictment suggests that a FIFA official sent the $10m in January and March 2008 from a FIFA account based in Switzerland via New York to a number of accounts that Warner had control over, with the Caribbean football representative taking a “substantial portion of the funds for his personal use”.

The indictment also mentions another fraudulent transaction involving Warner, where the FIFA vice president allegedly sent an unnamed person to the French capital in order to “accept a briefcase containing bundles of US currency in $10 000 stacks in a hotel room from a high-ranking South African bid committee official”, which was then passed on to Warner.

The South African official who allegedly provided the briefcase in Paris is not named in the document. In response to the bribe allegations the South African Football Association (SAFA) said that they consider such allegations “baseless and untested”.