Rigged votes denied Morocco 2010 World Cup hosting rights: Reports

London, June 7 (IANS) Morocco won the bid to host the 2010 World Cup but votes were “deliberately miscounted” and it was awarded to South Africa, according to a sensational new media report claim, deepening the corruption muck at FIFA.

Secret video tapes, published by South African daily the Sunday Times on Sunday, showed that the then-Fifa executive committee member Ismail Bhamjee made these claims to an undercover reporter. The tapes were allegedly first shown to FIFA five years ago.

The Sunday Times claimed it handed its evidence to FIFA executives, including outgoing president Sepp Blatter, to investigate into the matter at the time, the British media reported on Sunday.

In the tape, Bhamjee alleged he discussed the ballot with colleagues and realised that, based on whom they all voted for, “we found out that actually Morocco won by two votes”.

He then told the reporter that the officials, who tallied the votes in secret, could have “deliberately miscounted” before adding “Please, this is very secret,” reports independent.co.uk on Sunday.

The undercover tapes also showed Bhamjee claiming Morocco paid a bribe of more than $1 million to Warner, then the president of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF). He alleges Warner changed his vote at the last minute to South Africa “because they offered him more money”.

South Africa have denied allegations of paying $10 million to the former FIFA executive Warner to secure votes from the Caribbean delegates.

Bhamjee also said in the tape the executive committee members “go in there, without our cellphones, and vote”, describing how the ballot for the 2010 World Cup happened.

The tape later shows Bhamjee saying: “Morocco actually won the vote to host the World Cup. but Blatter (inaudible) the whole thing.”

South Africa won the ballot by 14 votes to 10 in May 2004.

The Sunday Times said it had filmed the four former FIFA officials in 2010, speaking openly about the vote.

The revelations emerge in the wake of a torrents of corruption allegations against top FIFA officials, which has witnessed the arrest of seven top officials of world football’s governing body and 14 people indicted in total by America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The crisis forced FIFA president Sepp Blatter to quit from his post days after being re-elected for a fifth four-year term.

Blatter is being investigated by the FBI for possible wrongdoing. Swiss authorities are investigating the World CUp hosting bids of the 2018 and 2022 tournament, won by Russia and Qatar, respectively.

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