Egypt claims $7m bribe for World Cup hosts

The Star (St. Lucia) - - INTERNATIONAL -

The lat­est al­le­ga­tions of cor­rup­tion to hit FIFA are com­ing from Egypt which lost the bid to the 2010 World Cup to South Africa. Ac­cord­ing to an Egyptian sports of­fi­cial, the coun­try re­fused to pay a $7m bribe to the for­mer FIFA vice-pres­i­dent Jack Warner to help the north African state win.

In 2004, Egypt was left crest­fallen af­ter fail­ing to ob­tain a sin­gle vote in the 2004 polls. “I did not imag­ine that FIFA was so cor­rupt,” the for­mer Egypt sports min­is­ter Aley Ed­dine He­lal said on Thurs­day. He was speak­ing on ONTV in Cairo. “Jack Warner de­manded $7m be­fore the vot­ing. Egypt’s FA pres­i­dent El-Dahshori Harb met with the FIFA of­fi­cial in the United Arab Emi­rates and in­formed me that he wanted a $7m bribe.”

Warner, charged by the US over al­leged cor­rup­tion at FIFA, has re­peat­edly de­nied wrong­do­ing but has said he has an “avalanche” of ev­i­dence he will re­veal.

ONTV, seen as the only po­lit­i­cally in­de­pen­dent Egyptian tele­vi­sion sta­tion, has been cov­er­ing the FIFA scan­dal from an es­pe­cially Egyptian per­spec­tive, con­sid­er­ing how dramatically they lost the bid. South Africa even­tu­ally beat com­pe­ti­tion from Morocco to win.

He­lal, who was head of the 2010 bid com­mit­tee, went on: “I told the EFA [Egyptian Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion] pres­i­dent that Egypt could not par­tic­i­pate in such a crime. I in­formed Egypt’s for­mer spy chief Omar Suleiman who con­firmed that I had made the right de­ci­sion.”

The Egyptian of­fi­cials who led the bid at the time have been par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in ex­ploit­ing the re­cent al­le­ga­tions against South Africa which has been ac­cused of pay­ing $10m in bribes. South Africa has de­nied wrong­do­ing and said the pay­ment was “above board”. Many Egyp­tians have not for­given the bid of­fi­cials for los­ing, with lo­cal me­dia dub­bing the poll re­sult “the World Cup zero scan­dal”.

He­lal said he and other of­fi­cials on the 2010 bid com­mit­tee have been si­lent for the 11 years since los­ing be­cause they did not have any proof to back “the sus­pi­cions we have al­ways had about the dis­grace­ful way we lost”.

His claims are the lat­est of in­creas­ing al­le­ga­tions against FIFA in re­cent days. The for­mer FIFA ex­ec­u­tive Chuck Blazer has ad­mit­ted tak­ing bribes to help in the award of the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.

Egypt’s for­mer FA pres­i­dent El-Dahshori Harb, left.

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