Warner accuses FIFA of damaging Caribbean football

Jack Warner has accused FIFA of “devastating lives” and damaging football in the Caribbean in an attempt to clean up its image.

FIFA, who last month charged 16 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials over the bribery scandal, has also terminated a multi-million pound TV rights deal with the CFU.

Warner, who resigned as FIFA vice-president and CFU president in June after himself being charged with facilitating the payment of bribes, said he had prepared to be the “sacrificial lamb” and had been led to believe FIFA would not pursue the matter.

Jack Warner

FIFA last month announced the Caribbean officials who would face ethics committee proceedings in connection to the meeting in Port of Spain on May 10 which led to former presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam being banned for life for giving bribes totalling around US$1 million (£610,000).

Warner said: “When I resigned from the FIFA of my own volition, it was because I was prepared to pay the ultimate price and become the sacrificial lamb for alleged wrongdoings prior to the FIFA elections.

“I was led to believe that that would have been the end of the matter as far as I was concerned. Never did I believe that the FIFA would have engaged in such an acrimonious battle with the Caribbean Football Union, an organisation, which for 33 years has served the FIFA well and had demonstrated its loyalty not only to the FIFA but its president [Sepp Blatter].

“Such ignoble pursuit has nothing to do with the cleansing of corruption within the FIFA but rather to offer the perception of an aura of cleansing within the FIFA.

“In their pursuit they have devastated the lives of many persons, destroyed many golden friendships which were forged over the years and sadly affected generations of footballers to come within the region of the Caribbean.

“All this has been perpetuated by the men of the FIFA’s gentry who were once viewed as friends of the CFU. This is done in the name of seeking to cleanse the FIFA of all corruption.”

Warner also criticised FIFA for not investigating Chuck Blazer, the American FIFA member who blew the whistle on the bribery.

Blazer, who worked under Warner as general secretary of CONCACAF for more than a decade, has confirmed he receives a percentage of the federation’s sponsorship deals as part of his salary package.

Warner added: “To maintain their whiteness, their whistleblower must never be tainted and so their [FIFA’s] bias, their prejudice and their partiality continue unabated favouring a certain kind of people and damning another.”

FIFA terminated a multi-million pound 2014 World Cup TV deal with the CFU after discovering the rights had been sub-licensed to a company owned by Warner.

The CFU were told in a letter from FIFA they had not approved the sub-licensing deal with Warner’s company JD International (JDI).

Warner sold the rights to Jamaica-based SportsMax in 2007 for a fee reported to be between US$18-20 million, though that included the 2010 World Cup as well.

FIFA were also owed several payments dating back to 2009 for the rights, which covered 29 Caribbean countries. (Trinidad Express)

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