Friday, April 26, 2013

Jack Warner Responds, Digs Deeper Hole

Last night in a speech to his (former) constituents in Trinidad and Tobago. embattled politicians and former FIFA Executive Committee member Jack Warner offered a response to the recent CONCACAF Integrity Report, which accused him of fraud and other transgressions (the original document prepared by Warner, with exhibits, is here in PDF).

It is not clear that Warner has helped his cause. He explains how a $6 million loan from FIFA to help build the now infamous "Centre of Excellence" (described in detail in the CONCACAF Integrity Report), was converted into a "grant" by then-FIFA President Joao Havelange in exchange for Warner delivering the support of CONCACAF and its 30 votes in the FIFA Congress to Sepp Blatter, Havelange's choice of successor at the helm of FIFA:
Blatter was Havelange’s candidate to succeed him for the FIFA Presidency. Blatter had been at this time the most hated FIFA official. by both the European and African Confederations and without my CONCACAF support at the FIFA elections, Blatter would never have seen the light of day as President of FIFA.

I told Havelange that, through him, Blatter will get CONCACAF’s total support and Bin Hammam also said the same day thing though at the time he did not have Asia’s 100% support as I had with the CONCACAF.

“Votamos como un bloque”, I told my Central American colleagues. In 1997, Havelange came to Antigua for the Shell Umbro Cup and in an invitation meeting at St. James Club, Antigua, again reiterated his request to me. Again I promised him CONCACAF’s total support. Then and there he began to count Blatter’s votes and said that if CONCACAF supported Blatter he will win by thirty votes.

CONCACAF at the time had 30 voting members.

The FIFA Presidential elections were held in Paris on June 8, 1998. I will now ask that the results of that election be read.. . 
The Congress elects Joseph S. Blatter as his successor. Rival Lennart Johansson withdraws after Blatter has gained 111 votes to Johansson’s 80 after the first ballot.. .

Havlange was off by one!!! Blatter had defeated Johanssen by 31 votes.
Warner explains how swinging the election to Blatter made him extremely powerful in FIFA with commensurate rewards:
In 1998 therefore, I had delivered and since then I emerged the second highest sporting personality in the FIFA.

1. I was placed on 6 out of 11 committees,

2. I was the Chairman of 2 and the Deputy Chairman of 2, one being the prestigious Finance Committee of the FIFA,

3. Trinidad and Tobago was given the seat to host the Under 17 2001 World Cup, and

4. Additional financial assistance was given for the further construction of the Center of Excellence.

I was Blatter’s idol then and he was mine.
Warner explains that anything he may be guilty of was because of FIFA's complicity:
It is still a mystery to me to fathom how a little country boy from Todd’s Road, Longdenville and Chaguanas could deceive for so long the mighty FIFA with more than 200 lawyers and an annual budget of US$2 billion for so long.

One must ask the question how did little Jack Warner manage to stay in his corner under the radar and enjoyed so much success for so long? Or is it just that what we are seeing today is the vindictiveness of an oligarchy against one who attempted to challenge the power of a Eurocentric and White regime and thus balance the playing field so that leaders of every colour, race and ethnicity could have a fair chance to become a President of FIFA?
Warner singles out journalists Andrew Jennings, Jens Weinreich and Lasana Liburd as his enemies for their efforts to expose corruption in football.

Warner ended the speech by announcing his intent to compete in the by-election for the parliamentary seat which he just resigned from. Jack Warner is not done yet.


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