Monday, 15 June 2015

FIFA defence stranded by South African hospital pass

In view of recent documented reports by BBC, it seems safe now to say, without fearing a letter from m'learned friends, that the South African administration ensured that a bribe was paid to Jack Warner, a former vice-president of the international association football authority and virtual controller of CONCACAF. The ostensible reason for the payment was to further the African "diaspora legacy support programme", of which it has been difficult to find any references before the FBI broke the corruption charges story earlier this year. (That would equate the driving out of Jews from the Holy Land with the purchase of slaves from West Africa. I suppose pull is as valid a reason as push to call a diaspora, but it seems to me that very few West Indian plantation workers were extracted from the lands now ruled by the Republic of South Africa.) The true reason, it has been alleged, was to secure votes for South Africa's holding the association football World Cup in 2010. There is a rather less well-documented allegation of a briefcase full of cash finding its way from South Africa to Trinidad.

A key figure is Danny Jordaan, a veteran of the student anti-apartheid struggle and former chief executive officer, now president, of the South African Football Association. South Africa's Mail & Guardian has published a letter of his which seems to show that money passed from the ANC government (without the knowledge of the Ministry of Finance) to FIFA, via a debt cancellation with South Africa's local organising committee for the World Cup. FIFA then made a grant to CONCACAF, but in practice to Warner.

In the football-mad nation of South Africa, it seemed that the ANC had pulled off a master-stroke in installing Jordaan as mayor of Nelson Mandela Bay municipality (the former Port Elizabeth) at the end of May. However, the football bribes scandal may well ensure that ANC will lose in local elections next year there as a result. The question is whether the liberal DA or the new kids on the block, the socialist EFF, will pick up the pieces.

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