South African soccer head Danny Jordaan has been cleared in an ethics check to stand for election to the FIFA Council three years after he was linked to alleged bribery.
The Confederation of African Football said in an internal memo seen by The Associated Press on Thursday that Jordaan was one of five African officials who passed integrity checks ahead of the election at a special CAF meeting in Egypt on Sept. 30.
African member countries will vote for a new representative on the FIFA Council after Kwesi Nyantakyi of Ghana resigned while facing allegations of corruption after being filmed taking $65,000 in cash from a reporter posing as a businessman in an undercover documentary.
CAF listed Jordaan, Elvis Chetty of Seychelles, Leodegar Tenga of Tanzania, Nick Mwendwa of Kenya and Walter Nyamilandu of Malawi as all being cleared as candidates to replace Nyantakyi, who resigned as a member of the FIFA Council, as a vice president of CAF and as head of the Ghana soccer federation.
Jordaan was the head of the organizing committee when South Africa successfully hosted the 2010 World Cup. But he has since been accused of involvement in an alleged $10 million payment to corrupt former FIFA executives to get them to vote for South Africa to host the tournament.
That payment was alleged in the U.S. Department of Justice’s 2015 indictment, which revealed widespread corruption and bribery at FIFA and ultimately brought down many of world soccer’s most powerful figures.
The indictment said two senior South African bid officials, who were unnamed and described as “co-conspirators,” were involved in shaving off $10 million from South Africa’s World Cup budget and sending it to banned FIFA executive Jack Warner as payment for him and two others voting for the South African bid in 2004.
South Africa has denied the payment was a bribe and described it as a soccer legacy payment meant to support the African diaspora in Warner’s Caribbean region.
But the Dept. of Justice characterized it as a bribe and even FIFA, in 2016 court documents aimed at claiming back millions of dollars lost to corruption, rejected South Africa’s explanation and said of the payment: “in reality it was a bribe.”
Jordaan was linked to the $10 million when a 2007 letter he wrote to then-FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke was made public in the midst of the 2015 FIFA corruption scandal.
In the letter, Jordaan, then the chief executive of the 2010 World Cup organizing committee, suggests that Valcke deducts the $10 million from the South African organizational budget and sends it to the “legacy program” in the Caribbean.
It’s alleged the money was payback for Warner and two other FIFA executives voting for South Africa three years earlier.
Jordaan, now the president of the South African Football Association, was widely praised for his work organizing Africa’s first World Cup but his reputation has been diminished by the bribery allegations.
Also, he has been accused by a South African singer of raping her 25 years ago, in 1993. The singer, Jennifer Ferguson, opened a case with police in South Africa but Jordaan has not been charged.
He denies both accusations of corruption and rape.
Jordaan and Tenga are the candidates for the FIFA Council seat with the most experience and are both members of the CAF executive committee. The other three are relative newcomers to African soccer administration.
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