Warner quits FIFA

-FIFA drops investigation into corruption claims

LONDON, (Reuters) – Jack Warner, who had threatened  a “tsunami” of revelations about the way soccer is run, quit as  FIFA vice president yesterday, prompting the sport’s governing  body to drop an investigation into bribery allegations against  the Trinidadian.

Warner, 68, who had been suspended pending an ethics  committee probe into bribery claims, has resigned from all his  international soccer posts including the position of CONCACAF  president.

Jack Warner

“FIFA regrets the turn of events that have led to Mr  Warner’s decision,” the organisation said in a statement.

“As a consequence of Mr Warner’s self-determined resignation  all ethics committee procedures against him have been closed and  the presumption of innocence is maintained.”

Warner was being investigated in a cash-for-votes scandal  relating to the campaign of then-FIFA presidential candidate  Mohammed Bin Hammam that rocked soccer’s governing body in the  run-up to the June 1 election.

At the centre of the investigation was a meeting with  Caribbean Football Union (CFU) members in Trinidad relating to  Bin Hammam’s campaign which was organised by Warner and the  Qatari.

“This decision (to resign) … comes during the sequel to  the contentious Mohammed bin Hammam meeting in Port of Spain in  May with CFU delegates,” Warner said in a statement.

“I am convinced, and I am advised by counsel, that since my  actions did not extend beyond facilitating the meeting that gave  Mr. Bin Hammam an opportunity to pursue his aborted bid for the  FIFA presidency, I would be fully exonerated by any objective  arbiter.

“I have, nonetheless, arrived at the decision to withdraw  from FIFA affairs in order to spare FIFA, CONCACAF and, in  particular, CFU and its membership, from further acrimony and  divisiveness arising from this and related issues.”

Bin Hammam quit the race for the presidency shortly before  being suspended in late May along with Warner, paving the way  for Sepp Blatter to be re-elected unopposed for a fourth term  with an immediate pledge to beef up the fight against  corruption.

Warner was until recently an ally of Blatter for the near 30  years. The Trinidadian was involved with FIFA and CONCACAF, the  North and Central American and Caribbean soccer confederation.

FIFA observers say Blatter gave him a free hand to run  CONCACAF as he saw fit in return for the block support of its  35-member federations.

However, last month Warner threatened to unleash a “football  tsunami” by revealing contents of emails with Blatter before  later backing down for what he said were legal reasons.

POLITICAL CAREER

An angry Warner made public an email sent by FIFA secretary  general Jerome Valcke that suggested the 2022 World Cup was  “bought” by Qatar.

Valcke later said he meant the bid had used its financial  strength to lobby for support.

Warner was re-elected unopposed as CONCACAF president in May  before some supporters turned against him after his ban.

He and Bin Hammam had been accused of attempting to bribe  delegates of the Caribbean Football Union with inducements of  $40,000 to vote for the Qatari.

Warner, who has denied any involvement in bribing or  attempting to bribe delegates, will now focus his attention on  his political career in his home country.

“I shall, henceforth, be concentrating exclusively on my  lifelong commitment to the service of the people of Trinidad and  Tobago, currently as chairman of the major party in our  governing coalition and as a cabinet minister in the government  of our republic,” Warner said.

FIFA said his resignation had been accepted and said his  “contribution to international football and to Caribbean  football in particular and the CONCACAF confederation are  appreciated and acknowledged”.
CONCACAF is currently staging the Gold Cup continental  championship in the United States.

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