-- As the soccer world reels from the biggest scandal to hit its sport in recent history, the South African government is fighting back against allegations that it attempted to buy votes in order to host the 2010 World Cup.
Warner agreed to the deal, but after South Africa won its bid, the country said it could not pay the FIFA officials directly, according to the indictment. Instead, FIFA officials allegedly took $10 million from their own accounts that would have gone to South Africa to support the World Cup and gave it to the CFU.
Prior to that incident, the indictment claims that in the course of South Africa’s relationship with Warner, at one point a “high-ranking South African bid committee official” met a co-conspirator of Warner’s in a Paris hotel room, where the South African official handed over a briefcase full of American money in $10,000 stacks.
South Africa’s alleged wrongdoing is just one of a series of purported schemes described in the 47-count indictment against 14 people, nine of them high-ranking current or former FIFA officials, unsealed yesterday. Other allegations include conspiracies to secure broadcast or merchandising rights to various football federations or tournaments.
Today FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who has not been accused of wrongdoing by the DOJ, said the corruption in the world of football “has to stop here and now.”
“We cannot allow the reputation of football and FIFA to be dragged through the mud,” he said. “Let this be the turning point."