Friday 24 March 2017

Fifa scandal: Warner filmed discussing cash gifts

Martyn Ziegler

Video evidence of ex-Fifa vice-president Jack Warner urging Caribbean officials to accept cash gifts from Mohamed Bin Hammam has emerged.

The recording of a speech made by Warner to members of the Caribbean Football Association (CFU) on May 11 is being used as evidence in Fifa ethics committee hearings into charges against 15 of those officials this week.



The video, which has been posted on www.telegraph.co.uk, shows Warner telling members they are not obliged to vote for Bin Hammam in the Fifa presidential election but that he had told the Qatari to bring cash.



Former Asian football chief Bin Hammam was banned for life in July by Fifa's ethics committee but is appealing.



Warner - who had been suspended along with Bin Hammam pending the committee's investigation - announced his resignation from Fifa in June.



The speech took place in Trinidad a day after cash gifts of 40,000 US dollars each were handed out to the leaders of Caribbean associations.



Warner says on the video: "When Mohamed Bin Hammam asked to come to the Caribbean he wanted to bring some silver plaques and wooden trophies and bunting and so on, and told me to bring for 30 people would be too much luggage. I told him he did not need to bring anything but if he wanted to bring anything to bring something equivalent to the value of the gift that he brought.



"I said to him if you bring cash, I don't want you to give cash to anybody, but when you do you can give it to the CFU and the CFU will give it to his members. Because I don't want (it) to even remotely appear that anyone has any obligation to vote for you because of what gifts you have given them, and he fully accepted that."



Warner also says he will return any money if the officials choose not to keep it.



He adds: "I know there are some people here who believe they are more pious than thou. If you are pious go to a church friends, but the fact is that our business is our business.



"If there is anybody here who has a conscience and wishes to send back the money I am willing to take the money and give it back to him at any moment."



There is also an astonishing barrage aimed at Uefa president Michel Platini, saying a victory for Sepp Blatter over Bin Hammam would lead to the Frenchman taking over.



Warner says: "We have to ensure Platini is not some automatic inheritor of Fifa. Because I tell you if that happens Fifa will become a French province. Forever. The fact is that Platini is being groomed to succeed Mr Blatter and we don't know if it is in our best interests to have a French president, a French general secretary...but in any event I don't think it's in our best interests to do that.



"I have told him (Blatter) that we who have supported him faithfully have not benefited from that support. We stood up and backed him and then he went to embrace his enemies and not his friends."



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