FIFA sent legacy cash to Warner

Published: Monday 8th June 2015 by The News Editor

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The scandal of a 10million US dollar payment at the centre of World Cup bribes has taken a new twist after it emerged FIFA initially said it wanted to administer the money for a legacy programme – but then agreed to let the cash be sent from its account to Jack Warner.

A new leaked letter has shown FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke told the South African government in September 2007 that FIFA would administer the cash that was being given to Caribbean football.

Less than six months later, after a request from the South African FA (SAFA), FIFA organised for the money to go from its bank account to Warner and be “administered and implemented directly” by the man now facing extradition to the USA on bribery charges.

Warner’s former deputy Chuck Blazer has pleaded guilty in a US court to taking part of the 10million dollars as a bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

Sepp Blatter announced his resignation last week within hours of Press Association Sport publishing a letter from SAFA to Valcke detailing the payment to Warner.

The new letter throws fresh light on FIFA’s role in the payment, which South Africa said was to fund a legacy programme for Caribbean Football Union (CFU) countries.

Valcke’s letter of September 19, 2007 to the director general of the South African government’s Department of Foreign Affairs has been published in the South African Sunday Times and states: “We agreed that the fund shall be transferred to the FIFA account in Zurich for FIFA to administer it. The account details will be communicated in due course.”

A FIFA spokeswoman insisted there was “never any intention” to administer the fund and that it just “facilitated” a reallocation of funds at the request of the South African government.

She said via email: “Actually it would not be ‘right and proper’ for FIFA to have administered the Africa Diaspora Legacy Programme Fund because this programme had nothing to do with FIFA. FIFA did not administer the Africa Diaspora Legacy Programme Fund and there was never any intention for it to do so.

“It made sense for FIFA to facilitate that reallocation, and that is all FIFA did.”

Three months after the letter stating FIFA would administer the funds, a follow-up email from Valcke to deputy finance minister Jabu Moleketi sent on December 7 asked when South Africa would transfer the money and stated the arrangement had been agreed in talks between FIFA president Sepp Blatter and South Africa’s president Thabo Imbeki.

Three days later, World Cup organising committee chief executive Danny Jordaan replied to Valcke stating that instead of South Africa paying the money, FIFA should withhold the 10million dollars from its contribution to the local organising committee (LOC) and use those funds for the legacy programme.

According to the US department of justice indictment against Blazer and others, on January 4, 2008, 616,000 dollars were transferred from a FIFA account to a CFU account controlled by Warner, followed by 1.6million dollars on February 1, 2008.

On March 4, a letter was sent from SAFA president Molefi Oliphant to Valcke stating the 10million dollar fund “be administered and implemented directly by the president of CONCACAF [Warner] who shall act as the fiduciary.”

On March 10, a final payment of 7.784million dollars was made by FIFA to the CFU account.

According to documents obtained by the BBC, Warner used some of the funds for credit card payments and personal loans.

The indictment states that a large supermarket chain in Trinidad received 4.86million dollars and that Blazer received 750,000 dollars from a promised 1million dollars in return for giving his vote in 2004 to South Africa.

The South African government has insisted it never agreed to pay any World Cup bribes to any person.

Published: Monday 8th June 2015 by The News Editor

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