Wednesday 22 November 2017

Fifa power broker Warner remains defiant as he is handed lifetime ban

Jack Warner has said his lifetime ban is designed to draw attention away from FIFA’s own woes
Jack Warner has said his lifetime ban is designed to draw attention away from FIFA’s own woes

Tariq Panja

Jack Warner, long one of soccer's most influential power brokers, has been slapped with a lifetime ban from the sport less than 24 hours after Fifa President Sepp Blatter defiantly refused to resign in the face of a widening corruption scandal yesterday.

Warner was "a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, as well as other money-making schemes", the adjudicatory arm of Fifa's independent ethics committee said in an emailed statement.


Warner, a former Fifa vice-president who is fighting extradition to the US, is one of 14 men charged in a sprawling soccer corruption case that has led to the biggest crisis in Fifa's 111-year history.

The scandal, which started with US charges in May, widened last week when the Swiss attorney general opened an investigation into Blatter, who has run FIFA for 17 years.

Blatter continues to insist he has done nothing "illegal or improper" and has returned to work as the investigation into corruption within the organisation continues.

Warner said in emailed comments that his lifetime ban was designed to draw attention away from the Zurich-based organisation's own woes.

"I do not believe that this will serve as the distraction to the Fifa's present problems as the Fifa wishes it to be," he said in the email.

Fifa said yesterday that its decision was based on reviews of bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the controversial two-year race that led to Russia and Qatar being awarded hosting rights to sport's most-watched event.

Warner has both denied any wrongdoing and threatened to produce an "avalanche" of evidence against Blatter and other Fifa officials.

Warner quit soccer in 2011 while being investigated for helping to arrange a meeting for Asian soccer officials with his Caribbean counterparts, while he was challenging Blatter for Fifa's top job.

At that meeting, officials received envelopes stuffed with $40,000, according to inquiries by Fifa and the regional body for soccer in North and Central America.

The inquiry was dropped when Warner quit, with Fifa saying his presumption of innocence was maintained.

"I left the Fifa in April 2011 and if in September 2015 Fifa wants to ban me for life without even a hearing, then so be it," Warner said in the email.

While Warner hasn't directly implicated anyone, he's at the centre of a case that Swiss prosecutors have brought against Blatter.


Swiss prosecutors said last week that a television contract Blatter agreed with Warner's Caribbean Football Union was signed for below its true value.

In recent weeks, Swiss authorities have started to approve the extradition to the US of Fifa officials arrested in the country before an annual meeting in May.

Yesterday, the Federal Office of Justice said Costa Rican football administrator Eduardo Li can be sent to the US to answer charges of accepting bribes in return for sports marketing contracts.

Irish Independent

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