Sedibe reopens old wounds for Safa


JOHANNESBURG, January 14 – Former SA Football Association (Safa) CEO Leslie Sedibe has laid criminal charges against Safa boss Dr Danny Jordaan over an alleged conspiracy to secure the 2010 World Cup.

Safa have hit back by claiming that Sedibe, who is currently serving a ban by Fifa for his alleged role in match-fixing, is running a ‘smear campaign’.

They have also stated that ‘necessary legal action will be taken against those journalists and newspapers concerned’, after the City Press broke the story last weekend.

According to quotes attributed to Sedibe, he was unable to find any documentation about the $10 million which was paid to Concacaf president Jack Warner, leading him to believe the money was a bribe in order to secure votes for the hosting rights of the 2010 World Cup, rather than a donation to that region’s football development. Safa claim this payment was authorised not by them, but by the South African government.

Sedibe, who has also laid charges against Fifa’s former secretary-general, Jerome Valcke, claimed he was introduced by Jordaan to Ajay Gupta and former president Jacob Zuma, in order to secure funding.

According to the City Press article, ‘Jordaan allegedly made the call to the Guptas after Valcke told Sedibe that he should ask for the funding he needed for team preparation from the South African government “as Fifa had paid $10 million to one Mr Jack Warner on behalf of Safa”.’

Speaking to 702 Radio on Monday morning, Sedibe’s lawyer, David Swartz, confirmed that a case has been made and said that he expects a trial to commence at ‘end of February’.

“The criminal charges have to do with the $10 million that my client is alleging were paid for the Fifa World Cup, and some bribery and corruption,” Swartz said.

“Whether Fifa cleared them or not is not the issue here. It is now up to the prosecutors and the NPA to prosecute this case. We would like to see an investigation, a case has been laid and the investigation must follow.

“There are new facts that have come out which implicate him (Jordaan), says Mr Sedibe, and they will need to face that and prove their innocence. Facts that came out from various documents and private meetings with certain individuals which were not previously available, that’s now been detailed in the criminal charge,” Swartz added.

In response to the allegations, acting Safa CEO Russell Paul told the same radio station:

“We are firm in our beliefs that Dr Jordaan is clear, given the extensive investigations that was conducted by Fifa in South Africa. Agencies that were in South Africa conducted that. It wasn’t just Fifa lawyers, but lawyers from all around the world. People like Dr Jordaan, Dr Khoza, Dr Oliphant, guys from EY (Ernst & Young), ENS (law firm), etc.

“Dr Jordaan himself stood for the Fifa position as we said a while ago, and also went through the Fifa integrity and ethic committee checks, which are quite vigorous, and again he passed that to qualify to stand for the Fifa position.”

In an official statement, Safa reiterated that they could hit back at Sedibe with action of their own:

“In these circumstances, Dr Jordaan, whose name is being besmirched by this concerted smear campaign, will seek to take the necessary legal action against Leslie Sedibe, if it is found that the currently unsigned complaint in Safa’s possession is deemed to be authorised by him.

“It has also become known that Leslie Sedibe has been meeting with former disgruntled Safa NEC members to pursue this smear campaign, aimed to discredit Dr Jordaan and Safa as a whole.”

In concluding their statement, Safa asked that media houses publish the following information in order to ‘provide the facts’.

In any event, Safa once again places the following on the record (which is already in the public domain):

• This alleged complaint is part of an ongoing smear campaign against Safa and its leadership, and it is common cause that Leslie Sedibe is not acting alone;

• This complaint matter was the subject of a thorough investigation by Fifa;

• The South African Government made numerous Press statements on the matter and requested Safa or anyone from Safa not to comment;

• The Fifa-led investigation determined that the LOC of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa, did not authorise nor pay any money from its budget of 423 million USD;

• This budget was never reduced by the LOC and or Fifa, and its common cause too, that the finances of the LOC were controlled by EY, who also confirmed that no monies were deducted from the Fifa approved budget of 423 million USD and as such, no loans were necessary from any 3rd party to reinforce the Fifa approved budget;

• Following the Fifa-led investigation, Fifa further issued a statement on 20 March 2016, placing many documents in the public domain (which documents were made available to the media and on Safa’s website – and are still available to the media and the public).

• Fifa has since closed their investigation;

• Dr Jordaan, Safa and any other South African stakeholder was cleared by Fifa and any other law agency around the world from any alleged wrongdoing in this matter

• Dr Jordaan recently stood for a position on the Fifa Council, and in order to have done that, was exposed to the vigorous Fifa Integrity checks required to declare him eligible to stand for such elections. Both Fifa and its Integrity Committee declared Dr Jordaan eligible to stand for election.

Safa and Dr Jordaan reserve their rights in this matter and will take the necessary appropriate action in law to protect their good names.

Safa therefore calls on the media houses who will be publishing articles that intend to wrongfully besmirch Dr Jordaan and or Safa’s good name, to also publish this release in full alongside such article in order to provide the facts. (ANA)