World football’s governing body, FIFA, while admitting for the first time to U.S. authorities on Wednesday, March 16, that votes were bought in past World Cup hosting contests, openly accused South Africa of paying a $10 million bribe to secure votes for the 2010 World Cup.
FIFA is seeking to claim “tens of millions of dollars” damages from the “sordid” officials now facing charges in the United States over mass bribery scandals that have rocked world football.
In a 22-page legal papers filed in New York on Tuesday, FIFA said 41 former officials and marketing executives took bribes and stole money from football’s governing body.
The legal papers also revealed that FIFA believed South Africa paid a bribe of $10m (£7m) to win the right to host the 2010 World Cup.
Those accused include Jack Warner, the former FIFA vice president and former CONCACAF president, Jeffrey Webb, the former FIFA vice president and former CONCACAF president and Chuck Blazer, the former CONCACAF general secretary, Sky Sport reports.
FIFA said the money was paid to Warner, Blazer and a third executive committee member and the money went through FIFA’s accounts and was disguised as development money for Caribbean football.
The football’s governing body also highlighted how one of the main accused, Webb had allegedly been leading a champagne lifestyle despite agreeing to hand over millions of dollars as part of a plea deal with US authorities.
Tens of millions of dollars more is likely to be collected by U.S. authorities when sentences are handed down, and from dozens of officials currently indicted but who have denied bribery charges or are fighting extradition.
FIFA acknowledged the widespread graft of recent decades in its most explicit manner yet, accusing the tainted officials of “brazen corruption”.
“By corrupting these tournaments, matches, sponsorships, and other football affairs through their backroom deals and secret payoffs, the defendants dragged FIFA into their sordid misconduct and tarnished the FIFA brand,” said the FIFA demand for restitution made to US authorities.”
FIFA said in a statement that it “estimates that at a minimum tens of millions of dollars were diverted from the football community illegally through bribery, kickbacks and corrupt schemes carried out by the defendants.
“This amount is likely to increase as the investigation continues.”