Caribbean football bribery scandal deepens

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caribbean-football-oliphant.jpgCaribbean Football has been thrust deeper into the scandal involving the governing body for world football, FIFA. A letter sent from South Africa to FIFA headquarters instructing the world's soccer body to pay US$10-million to the Caribbean Football Union, (CFU) holds the key to the FBI's claim that South Africa bought the right to host the 2010 World Cup.

According to the Sunday Times, it obtained a copy of the letter dated March 2008, and signed by then South African Football Association President Molefi Oliphant. In it Oliphant reportedly tells Fifa to pay over the money to the CFU. The Sunday Times says efforts to get a comment from Oliphant have been futile. The South African letter was sent three days before the final payment by Fifa was made

The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) has kept mum on the investigations so far, but in a statement on its website it said that it is not in a position to comment on specific allegations.

Trinidadian investigative Journalist Mark Bassant who has done various expose's on Former Concaf President Jack Warner, says the term 'contribution' is suspect. In the indictment read by US attorney-general, Loretta Lynch last week, it was alleged that high-ranking South African officials offered a $10-million bribe to help secure the hosting rights for the global showpiece.

A second claim was made that a senior South African official had paid a bribe to Warner's relative at a French hotel. The money allegedly went into bank accounts held in the name of CFU and CONCACAF.

The indictment stated that he diverted a substantial portion of that money for his personal use.

It is also alleged that Warner also paid two other Fifa executives. He is currently out on bail in Trinidad and Tobago as arrangements are being made by US officials to extradite him to face a slew of charges including corruption.

Meanwhile, South African Football Association President, Danny Jordaan has confirmed that the 2010 Local Organising Committee paid the money after South Africa won the bid to host the 2010 Fifa World Cup.But he has insisted this was not a bribe.

According to Independent Online, this is the first time that South Africa has confirmed to paying money to CONCACAF. The admission follows a week of denials from local football authorities and the government.

Jordaan, who was the 2010 Chief Executive, said that the money was paid to CONCACAF in 2008 as South Africa's contribution towards their football development fund. South Africa is alleged to have promised to pay Jack Warner the $10 million for his support for the 2010 bid.

After South Africa won the vote‚ football officials allegedly said it was not possible to pay Warner out of South African government funds. Instead‚ the money was deducted directly from a payment FIFA made to South Africa to help finance the hosting of the tournament, thereby concealing the alleged bribe.