Jack Warner, the controversial former FIFA executive committee member who was at the heart of a corruption investigation until he resigned this week, is set to pick up a five-figure annual pension for life as a result of his decision to stand down.
According to FIFA’s annual financial report, the world football governing body has accrued a pension pot of $16.8m (£10.3m) to pay a pension to all long-serving members of its executive committee.
“The provisions cover the future costs of the pension plan for members of the FIFA executive committee,” says a note to the accounts. “An annual pension payment will be made to all long-serving Fifa executive committee members retiring from 2005 onwards.”
Warner, long embroiled in a range of corruption allegations but wielding huge power as president of Concacaf, easily meets the criterion of having served on the executive committee for more than eight years. The Trinidadian, suspended when Fifa announced an investigation into claims – denied by him – that he facilitated a meeting where Sepp Blatter’s presidential challenger, Mohamed bin Hammam, allegedly offered $40,000 bribes to each of 25 members of the Caribbean Football Union, has served on the committee since 1983.
Under FIFA’s rules, the pension will be paid for as many years as Warner has served on the executive committee meaning that the 68-year-old can expect to collect it until he is 96.
Under the formula used by FIFA to calculate the pension, it is believed that Warner’s annual payment could be as much as £23,000 a year.
“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,” FIFA said on Monday.
Meanwhile, Bin Hammam intends to continue to fight the bribery allegations that plunged the election campaign, eventually won by Blatter as the only candidate, into controversy and farce.
The 62-year-old Qatari has told friends that he will not follow Jack Warner’s example and resign from Fifa and escape the outcome of the investigation.
The independent investigation, headed by the former FBI chief Louis Freeh, has until mid-July to reach a verdict.
Warner has said he will co-operate with FIFA but not with Freeh’s investigation. “I will die first. Not me. If FIFA wants me to co-operate I will do that but not with Freeh,” he told Bloomberg.
“I’m not going to back a complaint made by an American and investigated by Americans and an attempt to put it on American soil because the complaint is from Miami. I don’t back this farce.”
FIFA also said on Tuesday there were “no pending issues” between Blatter and the secretary general, Jérôme Valcke, who in a leaked email made public by Warner appeared to accuse Qatar of having “bought” the 2022 World Cup.(Guardian.co.uk)