July 20, 2024

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South Africa: ‘Swindled’ South African Soccer Body Not Part of Restitution Plans for Nations Duped By Fifa Graft

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Cape Town — Restitution amounting to U.S.$201 million (nearly R4 billion) to compensate multiple “victim organisations” harmed by global soccer body Fifa in a major corruption scandal, will not be issued to the South African Football Association (SAFA), an investigation by journalism watchdog amaBhungane has found.

The cash-strapped SAFA, who denied it was swindled out of paying U.S.$10 million to secure South Africa’s hosting rights for the 2010 World Cup, will be severely affected as a result. The soccer body allegedly pursued multiple avenues to recoup the lost funds without success. A former member of SAFA’s National Executive Committee (NEC) claims that the U.S.$10 million was, instead, a “fraudulent transaction”, one that was not authorised by the NEC. However, no individual has been held to account for losing the funds, 15 years after the fact.

In 2015, Fifa became the subject of a joint investigation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Internal Revenue Service. According to Forbes, more than 40 administrators and executives in the football industry were indicted, along with several top officials who faced accusations of wire fraud, racketeering, and money laundering. The probe resulted in Sepp Blatter’s removal as president of the global soccer body after a tenure of over 17 years.

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