Fifa defends ‘technicalities’ in $10 million scandal

Spokesperson Walter de Gregorio says there is nothing new in a letter addressed to Jerome Valcke.

FILE: Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke. Picture: AFP.

JOHANNESBURG - Football governing body Fifa has defended itself in the face of what appears to be a glaring contradiction emanating from a letter addressed to its secretary general Jerome Valcke, explaining that all correspondence to the body is automatically sent to him.

The letter dated 2008, from the South African Football Association (Safa) to Valcke, confirms a request of $10 million originally destined for the hosting of the 2010 World Cup be channelled instead to a development programme in Caribbean.

Fifa's statement confirms that the South African government did ask for the money to be diverted to the Diaspora Legacy Programme in the Caribbean instead of making its way to South Africa for 2010 showpiece.

It insists none of the body's senior management or Valcke were involved in the "initiation, approval and implementation of the project".

But Fifa spokesperson Walter de Gregorio told Eyewitness News that there is nothing new in the letter.

"The letter is consistent to our statement where we underlined that the Fifa finance committee made the final approval. In general, the Fifa secretary general is the recipient of all letters and requests to the administration and acts in accordance with Fifa's regulations."

Fifa added that due to the current situation, Valcke will not be attending the opening of the Fifa Women's World Cup Canada 2015 as previously scheduled.

"It is important that he attends to matters at Fifa's headquarters in Zurich," the football governing body said.

Safa has called an urgent press conference for Wednesday which will be addressed by Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula.