Sports Minister lays the cards on #Fifagate
Fikile Mbalula says Fifa must do what it takes to clean up its image in the wake of the corruption scandal.
JOHANNESBURG - Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula on Wednesday said Fifa must do everything it takes to clean up the image of the sport in the wake of a global corruption scandal that's seen Sepp Blatter stand down as president and two major investigations into its dealings.
Mbalula has maintained that South Africa never paid a bribe to secure the hosting of the 2010 World Cup and only approved a $10 million dollar payment from Fifa to a development fund in the Caribbean at the request of the South African Football Association (Safa).
Safa itself is yet to comment on the matter, but it appears this payment, requested by former Safa president Molefi Oliphant, is one of the focal points of a major Unites States investigation.
Mbalula said they won't play any part in a cover-up.
"There's nobody who can come and promote criminality here in South Africa. Americans have got a right, it is within their right, and we are not in their way. We fight corruption and we want a clean spot. If Fifa is corrupt, it is in the interest of all future generations to fight."
WATCH: Fikile Mbalula: Our hands are clean
Mbalula has welcomed US authority investigations.
South Africa has been implicated in the US Justice Department's indictment that's seen multiple arrests and the issue of a red notice on six people earlier on Wednesday.
One of those people is Jack Warner, the disgraced former boss of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf), who was in charge of administering the $10 million payment to a Caribbean development fund.
The sports minister said he is ready for when US authorities come knocking.
"We are prepared to explain to anyone, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). We will tell them that this thing was not a bribe. They can wake us up anytime, we're ready. I am ready to explain to them why this was done and why it was done in the manner in which it was done."
Mbalula looks to have indicated that Blatter stood down from his role as president of the football federation as a direct result of the two major probes into widespread corruption, bribery and racketeering.
ABC News reported on Wednesday that US authorities were set to formally charge Blatter in their investigation.
Mbalula said Blatter's resignation seems to point in one direction.
"Who knows why he had to resign? We cannot speculate, but you must understand that that's happened amidst all these developments and investigations. We can only say it's because of the investigation, unless he is sick or he'd realised afterwards that he cannot continue any longer. Nonetheless, we don't know."