South Africa bid leader admits collusion

Updated: November 3, 2010, 6:55 PM ET
Associated Press

LONDON -- The man who secured this year's World Cup for South Africa says he tried to get England to withdraw from the 2006 bidding by offering Nelson Mandela's support for a 2010 English bid.

While South Africa did get Brazil to pull out of the 2006 bidding, England stayed in the contest with South Africa -- and the tournament went to Germany instead.

Danny Jordaan, chief executive of the organizing committee for the World Cup in South Africa, is now part of the FIFA inspection team touring nations bidding for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments. That vote is in December.

Jordaan's revelations about insider deals a decade ago come as FIFA's ethics committee investigates claims 2018 contender Spain-Portugal and 2022 candidate Qatar have broken rules by colluding to swap votes.

Jordaan disclosed Wednesday he wanted Brazil and England out of the 2006 vote to give South Africa a "stronger chance" of winning.

"In the end we wanted a straight fight, so we sent an emissary to the English bid, but the English believed they were going to win 2006," Jordaan told the International Sports Event Management conference in London.

Jordaan recalled that England was told: "If you withdraw we will get Nelson Mandela to come to London, to praise you and say nice things about you, and then in 2010 you will be stronger because then you will have dealt with the difficulty of the debate of 1966-2006. But, of course, we didn't convince them."

Jordaan later said such deals would be harder to attempt now because bidding nations have lucrative deals with commercial partners that would prevent a late withdrawal.

"You can't halfway through decide you aren't running the race," he told The Associated Press. "It's not good or bad. It's the reality when you bid, you work within the framework of the reality of the rules."

FIFA executive committee member Mohamed Bin Hammam, the Asian confederation president, conceded last week that "collusion will always have a chance to happen" because the 2018 and 2022 votes are taking place at the same time on Dec. 2.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press