Top SA bid official under investigation for alleged Fifa World Cup bribery

Fifa is now investigating whether corrupt officials at the world soccer’s governing body took bribes.

FIFA Joseph 'Sepp' Blatter. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - A top South African bid official is being investigated for allegedly offering a bribe of $10 million to a top Fifa official, acting US Attorney General Kelly Currie on Wednesday confirmed.

No one has been named yet.

Fifa is investigating whether corrupt officials at the world soccer's governing body took bribes during the process that awarded the 2010 World Cup to South Africa, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch alleged on Wednesday.

"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," she told a news conference.

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

The arrest of Fifa officials follows a lengthy US investigation into racketeering and corruption relating to officials based primarily in the US and the Caribbean.

Two separate corruption investigations have been launched and top executives now face extradition.

However, former Safa President Kirsten Nematandani believes everything was above board and officials did everything Fifa bosses expected of them during the bidding for the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

The Swiss Federal Office of Justice is investigating the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups after allegations of criminal mismanagement and money laundering which has seen several FIFA officials arrested.

He says the actions of those responsible are appalling.

"I think the ultimate victim is soccer at large. It's the fans, the organisations and the reason that these people were able to make so much money corruptly goes to the love that people have for the sport."

The Fifa indictment alleges corruption is rampant, systematic and deep rooted both abroad and in the United States.

Fifa spokesperson Walter de Gregorio said Fifa President Sepp Blatter was not under any investigation.

The Fifa presidential election scheduled for Friday will go ahead as planned where Blatter is expected to win a fifth four-year term.

Meanwhile, Jordan's Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein, a candidate to succeed Blatter as the head of soccer's governing body, says Fifa needs leadership that can restore the confidence of fans around the world.

Prince Ali of Jordan was speaking after top Fifa officials were arrested in Zurich accused of corruption by US authorities and Switzerland opened a criminal investigation into the awarding of the next two Soccer World Cups.

The US Department of Justice is investigating 9 Fifa officials and five business executives on charges of conspiracy and corruption.

The awarding of the 2010 World Cup to South Africa is also part of the inquiry in a 47-count indictment amounting to over 150 million US dollars.

Fifa spokesperson Walter de Gregorio says Blatter won't be stepping down.

"The stress factor is a little bit higher today than it was yesterday but I mean he's quite relaxed because he knows and he knew it before and it is confirmed once again today that he is not involved."

To read the full statement from the Swiss Attorney General on the matter, click here."

The reaction on Twitter is widespread shock and outrage.