South Africa was narrowly beaten by Germany in the race to host the 2006 World Cup, but for their 2010 bid, when four other African nations were fiercely competing to stage the tournament, they brought out the big guns.
When South African bid leader Danny Jordaan first met with FIFA, he brought along Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who promised eternal bliss for members of football's governing body who voted for his nation; not an offer that can easily be turned down. AFP quotes Mr Jordaan:
"We had our first meeting with the FIFA executive and Archbishop Tutu said: If you vote for us, I will make sure that you get a first class ticket to heaven."
The anti-apartheid cleric had backed the bid upon the condition that it would be devoid of any bribery. When Jordaan raised the point that the Archbishop was effectively bribing FIFA officials with the salvation of their souls, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate responded:
"No, no, it's not a bribe. A bribe is only when you give things to people who are alive. In order to get their first-class ticket, they must first die. That's not a bribe."
So there you have it. The reason why FIFA executives have been so unapologetic for their mistakes while taking steps toward setting up their own Draconian rogue state (see "special World Cup courts") is that they can do whatever the heck they like. Their judgement already has come, and at the end of this mortal coil, they'll be heading in the opposite direction to Joey Barton.
- Danny Jordaan
- Archbishop Desmond Tutu