Corrupt officials at world soccer’s governing body FIFA took bribes during the process that awarded the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch alleged Wednesday. “Around 2004, bidding began for the opportunity to host the 2010 World Cup, which was ultimately awarded to South Africa, the first time the tournament would be held on the African continent,” she told a news conference.
“But even for this historic event, FIFA executives and others corrupted the process by using bribes to influence the hosting decision.” Lynch would not comment on the upcoming 2018 and 2022 World Cups, which are to be held in Russia and Qatar, but said that Swiss authorities are conducting a separate investigation into how these tournaments were awarded.
The South African Football Association refused to comment on the US investigation. “Those are just allegations. No one is being investigated here,” spokesman Dominic Chimhavi told newsmen. Earlier, US officials had revealed an indictment alleging that 14 senior soccer officials and marketing executives had engaged in a $151 million 24-year bribery scheme surrounding the promotion of world tournaments.