BREAKING: FIFA whistleblower admits executive committee members took bribes to facilitate World Cup bids

first_img1 FIFA whistleblower Chuck Blazer has admitted executive committee members took bribes to facilitate a number of World Cup bids, including the 1998 and 2010 tournaments in France and South Africa respectively.In a testimony published by the United States Department of Justice, Blazer confessed at least two acts of racketeering took place in relation to the award of football’s primary competition.He said: “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.“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 of the 2010 World Cup.”The American administrator also added that during his association with FIFA and CONCACAF, he took bribes in conjunction with the broadcasting rights of the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2003 Gold Cups.The news is the latest in a dramatic week for football’s governing body, after president Sepp Blatter stood down on Tuesday following a corruption scandal that led to the arrest of several FIFA administrators. Last week 14 people were indicted on charges of racketeering and money laundering. Four others had already been charged, including Blazer.The US justice department alleges they accepted bribes and kickbacks estimated at more than 150million US dollars over a 24-year period.The FIFA scandal has led to question marks being placed over the 2018 and 2022 World Cups in Russia and Qatar, with many commentators suggesting the bidding process for those tournaments should be held again.Qatar World Cup organisers insist the crisis at FIFA will not affect their preparations for the tournament in 2022.A statement from Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy said: “The recent events at FIFA will not impact on our preparations for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. With five stadiums currently under construction we are ahead of schedule to deliver on our promises.“Qatar has faced criticism from the moment we won the right to bring this tournament to the Middle East for the first time. We remain committed to using the World Cup as a platform to break down prejudice and misconceptions, while leaving a lasting legacy for our country and the rest of the region.”Blatter’s shock announcement he is to step down as FIFA president continued to reverberate throughout football as South Africa’s sports minister denied the country had paid World Cup bribes.The South African Football Association sent a letter – obtained by Press Association Sport – in 2008 to FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke saying that 10million US dollars should be administered directly by Warner, who is currently on bail in Trinidad pending extradition to the United States.South Africa’s sports minister Fikile Mbalula said the money – described as a bribe to secure the World Cup for South Africa by a US justice department indictment – was an agreed contribution to support the “African diaspora” in the Caribbean.Mbalula told a news conference: “The money was to support other projects in the diaspora. What we are saying is we did not bribe. We don’t know what compromised individuals say when they are compromised.”Mbalula added that the South African government did not know what had happened to the money.He said: “We don’t know. We can’t account for it. The fact that later they turned gangsters, that is not our problem. We were not sniffer dogs to check everybody’s legitimacy.”Valcke has also protested his innocence.He told France Info radio: “I have nothing to blame myself for and I certainly do not feel guilty so I do not even have to justify my innocence.”South Korea’s former FIFA vice-president Chung Mong-Joon said he is considering standing to succeed Blatter.UEFA president Michel Platini, one of the possible candidates to succeed 79-year-old Blatter, has postponed a meeting of European associations in Berlin on Saturday.The Russia 2018 local organising committee praised Blatter for his “enormous contribution” to football at all levels. FIFA last_img

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