Football: South Africa's Sexwale questioned over FIFA scandal

22nd December 2015, Comments 0 comments

FIFA presidential hopeful Tokyo Sexwale on Tuesday said he had appeared before a US grand jury last week as a potential witness in the probe into the 2010 World Cup corruption scandal.

US authorities are investigating claims that former CONCACAF president Jack Warner was paid a $10 million (£6.75 million; 9.1 million euros) bribe to help South Africa win the bid to host the 2010 World Cup, among other charges.

"I did visit the US Grand Jury but it's a normal process of information gathering," Sexwale told local media.

Sexwale was part of South Africa's 2010 FIFA World Cup bidding team and the committee that successfully organised the event when it came to Africa for the first time.

But he stressed that he was not summoned as a suspect in the scandal.

"One of their (grand jury's) attorneys .. indicated me that 'Mr Sexwale you are not a suspect in anything, you are not our target but you were at the crime scene, so if you were at the crime scene you will be called.'

"I am very happy that as FIFA presidential candidate I responded" to the call to appear before the Grand Jury "because there is nothing to hide."

As with other South African football officials and government ministers, Sexwale rejected suggestions that South Africa paid any bribes to secure votes to get the tournament.

"(South Africa) is clean, we had a clean 2010 World Cup," he said.

"Other people from the world also appeared before the Grand Jury," he added. "This is just information gathering."

He said he had also asked the Grand Jury to investigate the 1994 World Cup hosted by the United States and the 2006 tournament held in Germany.

Explosive accusations of corrupt wheeling and dealing at FIFA have led to US charges against 14 top football officials and sports executives, including FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who was banned for eight years on Monday along with UEFA president Michel Platini.

Sexwale, a millionaire businessman who was jailed alongside Nelson Mandela under apartheid rule, is among the candidates vying to replace Blatter as president of world football's governing body in next February's elections.

© 2015 AFP

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