South Africa's Jordaan admits $10 million Warner payment

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Denial: South Africa's Jordaan.

South Africa Football Association president Danny Jordaan has admitted the organisation made a $10 million payment in 2008, but denied it was in any way a bribe to FIFA for the 2010 World Cup.

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Two separate investigations are being carried out by American and Swiss authorities for alleged rampant and long-running corruption within FIFA.

The biggest scandal to rock world football erupted last Wednesday when seven FIFA officials were arrested in their Zurich hotel as part of the US probe. They and seven others were charged for racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies that ran from 1991 to present day, and accused of taking or conspiring to solicit for $150 million in bribes.

An example cited in US papers was the 2004 selection process for the 2010 World Cup, with investigators claiming that South African officials paid $10m to former FIFA vice president Jack Warner – one of the 14 indicted – to secure the bid.

“I haven’t paid a bribe or taken a bribe from anybody in my life. We don’t know who is mentioned there (in the indictment),” Jordaan told the Sunday Independent.

“How could we have paid a bribe for votes four years after we had won the bid?”, adding the payment was South Africa’s contribution towards CONCACAF’s football development fund. Warner was then also president of CONCACAF. 

Warner, meanwhile, embarrassed himself yesterday when he launched an online tirade at American authorities for his arrest, even citing a spoof news story as ‘proof’ of a conspiracy against him.

During an eight-minute video posted on his Facebook page, Warner claimed the recent FBI investigation was only launched after the United States failed to secure hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup.

However, part of Warner’s claims featured him brandishing a printout of a story from satirical website, The Onion, which said FIFA had brought the World Cup forward to host it in America this summer.

In a barely coherent address, Warner said: “Then I look to see that FIFA has frantically announced, 2015, this year… the World Cup, beginning May 27. If FIFA is so bad, why is it that the USA wants to keep the FIFA World Cup?”

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UAE's road to World Cups unchanged

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World Cup quest: Mahdi Ali.

The UAE’s route to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups is unchanged after FIFA president Sepp Blatter confirmed there will not be any alterations made regarding qualification and allocation of slots.

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The subject was discussed a day after the 79-year-old was re-elected for a fifth term at the helm of the globe’s governing body.

The topic was a vital one for the Whites as a reduction or increase in spots per confederation would have impacted their chances of making a return to a tournament they last reached in 1990.

But they will continue to bid for one of the Asian Football Confederation’s four automatic places or an intercontinental play-off when their latest campaign kicks off in the second round against Timor-Leste in Malaysia’s Shah Alam Stadium on June 16.

“This morning we [the FIFA Executive Committee] had an excellent meeting,” said Blatter.

“Among other things, we decided that the slots of the 2018 and 2022 World Cup would not change.

“So, we will stick to 32 teams and the same distribution [of places from across the confederations] accepted by everybody, although some were more grumpy than others.”

Mahdi Ali’s men are the fifth-highest ranked side in Asia at 68, meaning if the process runs to form they will face a play-off.

The eight group winners from the second round and the four best runners up will advance to the third qualifying round, featuring two groups of six.

The top two of each group will then automatically advance to the 2018 World Cup, with the two third-placed teams going into a qualifying play-off to compete for a right to play the inter-continental play-off.

The issue had been a heated one in the run up to the FIFA election, rumours swirling allocation promises were traded between various confederations and candidates in exchange for votes.

A decision to stick with the status quo sees Europe retain 13 places,

Africa five, South America and Asia four each plus a spot for the winner of an intercontinental play-off.

Concacaf get three with a fourth team then up against an Oceania side in a play-off.

Hosts Russia qualify automatically in 2018 and Qatar in 2022.

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English FA’s David Gill rejects FIFA executive committee place

Martyn Ziegler 31/05/2015
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A question of conscience: David Gill.

English FA vice-chairman David Gill says the “terribly damaging events” of the past week convinced him to reject a place on FIFA’s executive committee.

– Lionel Messi brilliance wins Copa del Rey for Barcelona
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Gill, a Manchester United director, did not attend yesterday’s first executive committee meeting following Blatter’s re-election to a fifth term in office, where he was due to sit as Britain’s FIFA vice-president.

Blatter beat rival presidential candidate Prince Ali of Jordan despite the crisis which has seen seven FIFA officials arrested, 18 people indicted by US justice authorities, and a Swiss criminal investigation into 2018 and 2022 World Cup bidding.

Gill said in a statement: “This action is not something I take lightly but the terribly damaging events of the last three days have convinced me it is not appropriate to be a member of the FIFA executive committee under the current leadership.

“I do recognise that Mr Blatter has been democratically elected and wish FIFA every success in tackling the many troubling issues it faces.

“However, my professional reputation is critical to me and I simply do not see how there will be change for the good of world football while Mr Blatter remains in post.

“I will continue to focus on my positions within the FA and UEFA, which I take seriously and am privileged to hold.”

The British vice-presidency is elected by UEFA members and an election for that post is now likely to take place.

Gill added: “Out of respect for the other 208 member associations, it was right to wait until after the election to confirm my decision.”

Meanwhile, Russian president Vladimir Putin has congratulated Blatter on his re-election.

“Putin expressed certainty that Blatter’s experience, professionalism and high level of authority will further allow him to spread the geographical reach and popularity of football,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Putin has portrayed the American investigation into FIFA’s alleged corruption as a ploy aimed at pressuring the organisation into scrapping the World Cup in Russia due to tensions over Ukraine.

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