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South Africa Denies $10-million Bribe To Secure 2010 FIFA World Cup

South Africa denies $10-million bribe to secure 2010 FIFA World Cup

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Updated May 29, 2015

South African Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula on Thursday vehemently denied allegations that South Africa bribed FIFA officials with $10 million to secure soccer’s World Cup in 2010, and accused the United States of going “beyond its borders” by indicting 14 people, including FIFA officials, on corruption charges.

The decision to award the World Cup to South Africa was one of the nation’s recent defining moments -- and when it won the right to host the event in 2004, many attributed the move to the personal charm of its first black president, Nelson Mandela, who pressed for South Africa to be given the opportunity. It was the first time the World Cup was held in Africa, uniting the continent in pride.

But U.S. Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch told a news conference Wednesday that the process was tainted by corruption.

“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. But even for this historic event, FIFA executives and others corrupted the process by using bribes to influence the hosting decision,” she said.

Mbalula said South Africa would protect its “sovereignty” in connection with the accusations of corruption in the FIFA process to award the World Cup.

“We've got nothing to hide as a nation and as a government,” he said. “As a nation we will be the first to endorse the fight against corruption wherever it is found.”

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