Jordaan, Khoza rift laid bare
Cringeworthy slanging mars first-round finale
TENSIONS between the World Cup’s two top local officials erupted into the open yesterday when the organising committee’s chief executive accused the chairman of waging a war against him.
After the Mail & Guardian newspaper yesterday reported his brother was cashing in on the World Cup through a hospitality contract, chief executive Danny Jordaan accused chairman Irvin Khoza of instigating a “malicious” smear campaign.
“I know about the war he (Khoza) said was coming after the World Cup. This campaign is against me and now I cannot run or handle this event,” Jordaan told the newspaper.
“I know why so many questions are being asked about my brother. This issue has nothing to do with him.
“I have never in my 17 years in football taken any money from anyone. All I have is my name and I will not have it tarnished for malicious reasons – not after I fought so hard for this country.”
Jordaan and Khoza, who is also chair man of South Africa’s Premier Soccer League and the owner of the Johannesburg-based Orlando Pirates team, have long had a fraught relationship.
Khoza denied accusations earlier this year that he was plotting a coup against the current leadership of the South African Football Association (Safa) which is seen as Jordaan’s power base.
He was not immediately available for comment on Jordaan’s allegations of a smear campaign.
Khoza failed last year in a bid to become Safa president. Jordaan is still technically the chief executive of Safa, although he has been working full-time on the World Cup for several years.
The dispute between the men is an embarrassing distraction for tournament organisers as the opening round comes to an end with one of the most highly anticipated games so far between Brazil and Portugal ending in a rather boring 0-0 draw.
With Italy and France already out of the tournament, much of Europe’s hopes will pin on three-time champions Germany and England, another former winner.
After scraping through to the last 16 on Wednesday, the two are now scheduled to face off in the Free State capital Bloemfontein tomorrow.
The match will be one of the most heavily policed of the tournament with previous fixtures having attracted large numbers of hooligans.
The last time the pair met in a major competition a decade ago during the European championships in Belgium, the streets of Charleroi were reduced to a battle zone as more than 500 fans were arrested during two days of violence.
“There’s been a bit of animosity between the two teams in the past, and obviously we’ll keep that in consideration when deploying our members and resources,” national police spokeswoman Sally de Beer said.
Meanwhile, a World Cup court yesterday postponed until Wednesday the trespass case of an England fan arrested for entering the team changing room and lecturing David Beckham on the squad’s performance in last Friday’s 0-0 draw against Algeria.
Pavlos Joseph’s bail was extended. The defence is expected to ask for charges to be dropped. – Sapa-AFP