Former FIFA official admits to bribery in World Cup hosting
The former head of FIFA in North America admitted that members of the body’s executive committee, including himself, had accepted bribes in connection with South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 World Cup.
In a five-page document submitted to a US federal judge late yesterday, Chuck Blazer said that he had been involved in wide-scale corruption and racketeering as late as 1992, admitting that he also failed to submit his taxes while living in New York between 2005 and 2010.
“Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup,” an extract from his statement read.
“Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011, I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup”.
Blazer also stated that he had agreed to accept bribes relating to the broadcast and other rights of the North America, Central America, and the Caribbean Confederation (CONCACAF)’s Gold Cup tournaments in 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003, adding that he was also involved in an attempt to defraud the body and FIFA by taking bribes.
“I and others agreed to use e-mail, telephone and wire transfer into and out of the United States in furtherance of the scheme,” Blazer said.
Sport and Recreation Minister Fikile Mbalula has however denied allegations that the country accepted a bribe to host the soccer show piece, saying that while an amount of $10-million had been paid, is was to be used for football development in the Caribbean, and that the handling of funds by former CONCACAF boss Jack Warner, did not raise any alarms.
“The fact a payment of $10-million was made above board does not equate to bribery. Those who allege should prove their allegations,” he told the media at a press conference in Johannesburg yesterday.
“We categorically deny that our country and government have bribed anyone to secure the rights to the 2010 World Cup”.
It has since been reported that Warner, who is facing charges of racketeering and corruption along with five other FIFA executives, has threatened to disclose information regarding an alleged link between the football body’s outgoing President Sepp Blatter, and voting in his home country of Trinidad & Tobago in 2010.
“I will no longer keep secrets for them who actively seek to destroy the country,” he said during a televised paid-for-advertisement yesterday.
“I apologise for not disclosing my knowledge of these events before. Not even death will stop the avalanche that is coming. The die is cast. There can be no turning back. Let the chips fall where they fall”.
The matter, which has since been picked-up by the FBI following Blatter’s shock resignation on Tuesday, five days after being re-elected to a fifth term, has now been extended to include the validity of the event’s 2018 hosting in Russia and Qatar in 2022.
IMAGE sourced from uk.eurosport.yahoo.com
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