South Africa: FIFA Must Retract Bribery Allegations - Mbalula

South Africa Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula has demanded that world governing body FIFA withdraw its allegations that South African football officials engaged in a series of underhand practices at the world football body.

This came after FIFA's March 14 announcement that it had immediately banned three South African football officials - Leslie Sedibe, Steve Goddard and Adeel Carelse - from all national and international football-related activities over allegations of match fixing ahead of the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

FIFA also said it was filing a claim in the US to retrieve money it believes was involved in votes for bribes, saying the world body had been violated and its image damaged.

Mbalula accused FIFA of reneging on its word when it promised to give him a copy of its report into its investigation into bribery and match fixing, saying the first he heard of the allegations against the three South Africans was in FIFA's statement earlier this week.

He said he had asked FIFA several times to expedite its investigation into the claims because it was reducing South Africa to a caricature.

'We have got nothing to hide'

"South Africa refuses to drown itself in the blame and victim mentality game."

"We believe that FIFA must retract its statement," he said.

"Whatever they want from us as government... we are ready to meet with them in the coming weeks."

"So, we have got nothing to hide... As a minister we take affront to the way this has been conducted," he said.

"The South African government considers it an insult to reduce one of its hallmark programmes to a mere caricature."
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