Warner speaks out
PORT-OF-SPAIN – Jack Warner said he refused to endorse Sepp Blatter last June for the position of FIFA president, despite being offered the broadcast rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups for a nominal fee.
The former FIFA vice-president disclosed that he had acquired the broadcast rights for the previous four World Cups, beginning with the 1998 edition in France for US$1, and for 2014 in Brazil.
He said each time it helped Blatter to win the position, but noted he refused to support the FIFA president this time around and “the rest is now history”.
“In 2011, in exchange for my support [and by extension the support of the CFU and the CONCACAF] in the FIFA presidential election, the FIFA again offered me the sale of the World Cup rights for 2018 and 2022 as a ‘gift’ at a nominal fee,” Warner said.
“FIFA also agreed to pay for the re-grassing of the Marvin Lee Stadium at the Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence [In Trinidad] as well as to grant two US$500 000 Goal Projects as a gift to the CONCACACF to do with as CONCACAF wished.”
“Notwithstanding the inducements offered, I . . . refused to endorse Sepp Blatter for the 2011 FIFA Presidential election. . . .”
Warner, the former president of Caribbean Football and CONCACAF, said he acquired the World Cup broadcast rights for his native Trinidad in 1998 after helping Blatter get elected as president of the sport’s World governing body.
He said this followed “a most brutal campaign against [former European football president] Lennart Johansson . . . a campaign in which [Mohamed Bin Hammam] and I played critical roles in support of Mr Blatter,” Warner said in a media statement Friday.
Warner said the sale of those rights was used primarily to assist in the development of the sport in T&T.
Warner said he also acquired the rights for the 2002 and 2006 World Cups after Blatter had “another brutal campaign” for the FIFA presidency with former Confederation of African Football President Issa Hayatou.
“In this campaign, Bin Hammam and I again played extremely critical roles in [Blatter’s] re-election, as well as in preventing several member of the then executive committee from insinuating criminal charges against him,” he said.
Warner said the sale of the 2002 and 2006 TV rights was used to develop the sport in the Caribbean.
He added that the TV rights for the 2010 and 2014 World Cups were sold to him through the CFU and the proceeds of the sale were once again used to fund activities in the sport in the region.
Warner’s revelation is the latest twist in the cash-for-votes scandal that rocked the sport in the Caribbean and shone the spotlight on corruption within FIFA.
The scandal followed accusations that CFU officials were offered US$40 000 in cash at a meeting last May in Port-of-Spain to support bin Hammam’s bid to become FIFA president.
Warner resigned in disgrace from his positions in the sport after the FIFA Ethics Committee launched an investigation into the match and bin Hammam was banned indefinitely from any official links to the sport.
Bin Hammam is appealing the ban and is awaiting a date for a hearing from the Court of Arbitration for Sport. (CMC)