Fifa's World Cup debt trail

2010-10-17 14:10

Johannesburg - Fifa is facing a string of legal suits in South Africa for nearly R1bn in unpaid debts for services provided before and during the World Cup.

The world soccer governing body has not paid about R240m for the buses that transported spectators and the security supplied by police after private security firms pulled out of the games over pay demands.

Host cities are also threatening to sue for unpaid bills amounting to more than R500m for work Fifa allegedly demanded be done around stadiums.

And last week, top executives from the SA Football Association (Safa) went cap in hand to Fifa's headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, asking for about R60m used to buy hospitality packages.

This comes three months after the end of Africa's first World Cup, which was held in June and July.

Transport parastatal Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) entered into a R174m agreement with Fifa's Match Hospitality for the provision of buses to transport fans.

Now Fifa faces a R148m lawsuit over the ­unpaid transport bill.

According to Prasa, Fifa was ­expected to settle the bill by ­August 31, but has so far only paid R26m.

Prasa spokesperson Nana ­Zenani said the entity "formally asserts that the matter is in the hands of its legal team".

Zenani would not comment on the agency's next move.

Prasa subsidiary, bus operator Autopax, acquired 570 new buses for R1.4bn for the World Cup.

Fifa spokesperson Pekka Odriozola said they wouldn't comment on the transport bill and referred enquiries to Match.

Match legal adviser Veruschka September confirmed that it ­contracted Prasa to deliver a ­complete bus transportation solution for the benefit of Match's clients during the World Cup.

Financial trouble

September said Prasa had filed a claim against Match, which it is disputing in a private arbitration forum.

However, the police ministry has ruled out a legal challenge to force the Local Organising Committee (LOC) to settle the R90m bill for securing Ellis Park and Soccer City in Johannesburg, Cape Town's Green Point and Moses Mabhida Stadium in Durban.

About 1 300 police officers, mainly trainees, were called to ­secure the stadiums after Stallion Security guards protested over low wages.

"There are no intentions for ­legal pressure or litigation to ­settle the matter because we're confident it will be settled," said police ministry spokesperson Zweli Mnisi.

Mnisi said the department's ­engagements with the LOC "were ongoing, open and mutual".

Last month, police minister Nathi Mthethwa told Parliament the bill was sent to the LOC but police had used their own budget to pay officers.

Meanwhile, Safa president Kirsten Nematandani and chief executive Leslie Sedibe travelled to Zurich last week to ask for ­reimbursement, arguing that the association would not ordinarily have spent the money had it not been for the World Cup.

Nematandani said Safa bought the tickets under the impression that it would receive the profits of World Cup ticket sales.
But Fifa and Safa have since agreed to open a trust account for the windfall that will be ­channelled towards development programmes.

The move to ask Fifa to pay the R60m was seen as an ­indication that the association was in financial straits.

But Nematandani denied this.

"If we were broke, we would have closed shop a long time ago and would not have been able to send Bafana to Sierra Leone on a ­chartered flight and our national under-23 team to Iran," he said.

He added that Fifa had agreed to give Safa the 37 sponsored ­buses that carried national teams to the games.

  • Jane - 2010-10-17 14:16

    FIFA rather like the Mafia, and the government allowed them not to pay tax or vat..... screwed over comes to mind!!!

  • Ina - 2010-10-17 14:41

    Yep thought that all the 'new' things arriving and supplying ect could not be footed by SA company's Fortunately FIFA works with 1 Euro to R10 so 1 Billion not so bad Mr Blatter

  • Diamond Dog - 2010-10-17 14:48

    HA HA HA HA HA ! ! ! We are such a bunch of losers aren't we.

  • fred - 2010-10-17 14:58

    Have you read the book Foul ! Everybody should read it, what an eye opener ! FIFA is the Mafia !

  • john - 2010-10-17 15:16

    The morning after the expensive party the evening before - the regrets and you suddenly feel it is a very dark place. Luckily they have tax payers to bail them out. Who bails out the overstretched and tired taxpayer?

  • v maritz - 2010-10-17 15:17

    Your article should be translated into German and sent to the Zurcher Neues Zeitung. The ratepayers of Cape Town will have to foot the bill for the lovely, but unneccesary stadium at Green Point. Has FNB paid over all the money for tickets to FIFA? FIFA never hesitated to threaten and take action against people who "infringed their rights", so why are they now infringing the rights of their creditors? The World Cup was wonderful - it brought tourists and we all enjoyed the "gees" and wished it could have continued longer. It is great that enormous projects were finished and that helps us as South Africans to have confidence in ourselves and our country. However, Mr Blatter and his entourage have alot to answer for in terms of their demands and now non-payment of their debts. VAT? TAX? The next international or world event held here should have better contracts in place, contracts which benefit us, the host country.

  • Soothsayer - 2010-10-17 15:45

    The horse has bolted,all the smoke is dissipating and lies and reality of fifo are coming out.We were sold out by the government to have a short term party,despite all calls for caution and the wasting of money being ignored.We the public will still be paying for this in years to come.Another classic case of the incompetance of the ruling party. When will they be bought to book?

  • DaveyP - 2010-10-17 15:45

    Ha ha what a joke.Everyone,including politicians involved in the SWC all bowed and groveled at the Godly Septimus Bladder's feet.Anyone who dared to suggest the SWC would not benefit SA were called traitors. no one was allowed to question the Holy Wisdom of FIFA.Now look.Stadiums unable to be maintained due to high costs,millions if not billions in debt outstanding.And who is smilling all the way to the bank,yes you guessed it the Holy Septimus Bladder and his crooked cronies.hahahahahah

  • lawler - 2010-10-17 15:58

    What has happened to Mr Danny Jordaan? Should he not be sorting out all these problems? Watch this space, SWC 2010 chickens have started coming home to roost.......

  • Tarzan - 2010-10-17 16:28

    ...Ha, ha, ha, ...JANE...your'e right...Just goes to show.... "True colours", jumps to mind...and after would not surprise me..if someone either stole millions...or is going to blame the "apartheid-era", for this mess.. I trule feel for the induviduals/and companies...that is in trouble...for helping the country hosting such a great event... Sorry boys....YOU DIT SA PROUD" said before...just a shame...this finaisial-crisis..puts a damper on all of this...

  • Clive - 2010-10-17 16:38

    So the "Blatter" corporation has left a trail of debt.They cleaned up here and went back with spoils.SA was taken,Have a look at the official fifa website-and the financials.S A Breweries saw them for what they are,all that was missing were the guns and masks.

  • lawler - 2010-10-17 16:51

    What has happened to Mr Danny Jordaan? Should he not be sorting out all these problems? Watch this space, SWC 2010 chickens have started coming home to roost.......

  • Johnno - 2010-10-17 16:58

    FIFA is bunch of thieves !! Brazil beware !!

  • listen up - 2010-10-17 17:25

    - Where's the problem ? The taxpayers will foot the unpaid FIFA bills. It is astonishing how a sports body like FIFA could have suckered this Govt. into such wasteful expenditure,left us with all the White Elephants ,walked off with the loot and then not pay the bills. Where else but SA,whose ANC Govt.continue to rip the taxpayer off.

  • hahaha - 2010-10-17 17:58

    Even better they can suit FIFA all they want to they not going to get anything out as the government granted FIFA exemption from any legal suits. That was one of the conditions in agreeing to host the world cup...... The party is over now the hangover will start to set in.

  • Ano Nymous - 2010-10-17 19:11

    FIFA should prepare a bid to host the SWC in a country, and the country can then decide whether FIFA's bid is good enough, and the financials sound, rather than the reverse... THe SWC has become a lame "franchised" display, in the same league as Miss Universe etc...

  • Ayoba - 2010-10-17 19:47


  • Punk27 - 2010-10-17 21:06

    Just shows that the biggest thugs and corrupters still live in 1st world countries, not in Africa as their movies are so quick to portray...

  • Andre - 2010-10-17 21:19

    "If we were broke, we would have closed shop a long time ago and would not have been able to send Bafana to Sierra Leone on a ­chartered flight and our national under-23 team to Iran," he said. Two things come to mind. 1. How terribly childlike and immature that statement is, to argue finances are in order. 2. I am not aware the springboks ever get a chartered flight to go an play an international.

  • catamongstdapigeons - 2010-10-17 22:16

    soooooo let me get this straight..SA made a LOSS of R1bn actually as fifa will find a way of not paying this bill.hmm how many houses cudve been built,roads cudve been fixed and our police force cudve been upgraded to be more efficient.what businesses had to close because of this rip off effect?!!i see more strikes on the horizon thanx to fifa.

  • lawler - 2010-10-18 00:50

    What has happened to Mr Danny Jordaan? Should he not be sorting out all these problems? Watch this space, SWC 2010 chickens have started coming home to roost.......

  • Anton De Beer - 2010-10-18 04:42

    That explains why they ignore my emails regarding the tickets I resold on FIFA's webpage and got confirmation from them that it was sold, but did not get paid for. How many others are there with the same problem? Can we start a class action?

  • Peter - 2010-10-18 06:03

    Being the gangster type organisation that they are, fifa will never pay all these debts and with most top ranking government officials all having had received very handsome back handed rewards from fifa they will not allow any claims to be instituted against fifa. So guess what, who is going to end up footing the bill? the tax payer!

  • jay - 2010-10-18 06:26

    Feel it fifa was here. A bunch of thives....including safa

  • Uhuru - 2010-10-18 06:37

    If SAFA had done their homework properly - and read Andrew Jennings' book "Foul", for example - they might have been better prepared in their dealings with that patently crooked organisation FIFA.

  • sepp jordaan - 2010-10-18 06:49

    A conversation somewhere in Switzerland: "We need to make a truckload of money very quickly: what should we do?" "Well, my grandfather always said that if that's the case, look no further than the wogs - Africa is always far stupider than the rest of the world" "OK, Africa it shall be, but which part? " "There's really only one choice: South Africa. They've got tons of cash and are as greedy and corrupt as can be - just like us !" And so it came to pass: South Africa bought the 2010 Soccer World Cup. And we'll be paying for it in ways unimaginable, for many years to come........

  • Pinket - 2010-10-18 07:29

    Lol, feel it, it is gone. Yaaiks.

  • Geyser - 2010-10-18 08:13

    Malema is 100% right in saying WC was an imperialistic venture to loot SA. FIFA is no different from any other mafia organisation. Frankly the entire WC project was to enrich: a handful of black insiders, the construction companies, FIFA and it's sponsors. It is time that the people of this country demand an investigation in to who were the people responsible for pushing for the WC to be held here and how much they have made out of it. All those involved, including Mbeki,Gordhan, Manuel, Danny Jordan and those who are partners in construction companies be investigated.

  • Bob's Lawn Service - 2010-10-18 08:15

    The problem is that we did not go into this deal as equal partners. SA government was so starstruck that they allowed FIFA to run riot and do as they pleased. When minnows do business with piranah without due caution they get eaten.

  • ZOZO - 2010-10-18 08:25

    I totally agree with Julius Malema about imperialists exploiting our country, the above is one of many examples.Politically correct statements are rarely exepted by politics itself.

  • My money - 2010-10-18 08:28

    I am still waiting for my payment since the World Cup for the services provided then. Shame on you FIFA.

  • Al - 2010-10-18 08:33

    FIFA = Soccer hooligans!

  • Barbara Pieterse - 2010-10-18 08:46

    You know I was really hoping to be proved wrong, but it seems that is not to be. Did anyone actually expect all bills to be settled and all staff paid and everything to be sweetness and light? And that cynical point of view is reflected over here in the UK - "But isn't that how things work in Africa?". How very sad.

  • Geoff - 2010-10-18 09:26

    Ja well, we have had the party, the hangover has started and the headaches will not be going away soon. Fifa have taken us for a ride, no doubt with the help of some "enterprising" local collabotators. And now we want the Olympics in 2020!

  • Johann - 2010-10-18 09:35

    What ever the negative effects of the world cup it was worth it. the time of my life. Thank you for everone you had to deal with the negatives for my enjoyment

  • "Devils Advocate" - 2010-10-18 09:41

    This information is only "The tip of the ears of the Hippo!" Most people in Africa you can catch wit a R10.00 note in a snare! And the world knows it!

  • ZANE - 2010-10-18 10:01

    the only difference between FIFA and a gang of robbers is the former does the robbery via contracts and marketing

  • bill - 2010-10-18 10:22

    Forget Osama Bin Laden - arrest Sepp Blatter the no 1 international con artist and criminal.He really succored this bunch in SA

  • Doped - 2010-10-18 10:58

    Read FOUL the secret world of FIFA by Andrew Jennings and this will come as no surprise at all. They have been corrupt since 1904 and we still fell for it. And we still want to bid for the Olympics????????

  • Bert Evers - 2010-10-20 18:32

    I had a great time in Bloemfontein. Especially the volunteers did a perfect job. They corrected many mistakes from the Volunteer Organisation. But what they cannot correct - until today I am still waiting for my stipend for the time I worked as a volunteer - until today I am still waiting for my certificate Nobody of SAFA or FIFA answers to my mails, nobody of SAFA or FIFA answers the phone! Who else has made the same experience?

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