FIFA Corruption Out Of Control

By admin Mon, 05/16/2011 - 00:00 Sportsoccerjackblatter
FIFA's Jack Warner

Jack Warner has been suspended from FIFA, and has begun his retaliation against FIFA president Sepp Blatter. From my own coverage of Jack and football since the 80';s I can tell you that at one time, when Blatter was secretary of FIFA and both were competing for the attention of then FIFA President Joao Havelanche, there was no love lost between this pair. For those of you trying to keep up with this fast moving story, check out my Storify here.

    Questionmarks hover over the head of Jack Warner as British football officials openly accuse him of corruption. Warner is no stranger to such accusations. But the latest round comes from the head of the British World Cup Bid Committee. He said Warner offered to support England for the 2018 World Cup if the UK agreed to build some sort of football school in his name, a project worth at least 2.5m British Pounds.

    You might also remember that during the first week in December last year, days before the World Cup cities for 2018 and 2022 were chosen, Warner leveraged his power at that moment to force British Prime Minister David Cameron into calling Prime Minister Kamla Bissessar on the phone to discuss the UK's restrictions on travel to the West Indies.

    Now that the dust has settled, the UK is calling out FIFA on the manner in which football executives are allowed to use the bidding process as a means of filling their personal piggy banks. Check out the BBC Television story, and listen to the first half of Lord Triesman's testimony. The entire first half contains allegations against Warner.

Dec 2nd, 2010 Update: 2018 World Cup goes to Russia! 2022 World Cup goes to Qatar!

    Jack Warner is a polarizing figure in Trinidad and Tobago politics. You've got to love him because his access to world figures makes him the most powerful person in the country. But the sleaze factor with his allies, positions and actions easily turn him into the guy you love to hate. In a candid interview for the Express in 1993, Warner told me of his international exploits and emerging power. He explained why he was courted by world leaders and showered with lavish gifts, and how he had managed to make friends in high places. His lament was that the people of Trinidad and Tobago did not appreciate all that he was doing for the country and that he was generally not respected in his homeland. The details were published under the memorable headline "Nobody Loves Me."

    It seems like public opinion of Warner has not shifted much over the 17 years since that interview. And a generation later, his handling of football and political matters continues to supply his critics with new ammunition. This week alone Warner is brushing off allegations aired in a BBC News Panorama program that he treated the 2006 Soca Warriors team horribly, and scalped tickets to World Cup games in Germany. And he is refusing to comment on accusations of bribery, corruption and favoritism among members of FIFA's World Cup selection committee.

    Instead he is playing up the pandering process that involves powerful world leaders who lobby for the games to be held in their countries. Newsday is reporting on Warner's telephone discussions with President Obama, who weighed in on the USA's bid for the 2022 finals. That conversation took place after a personal visit with British Prime Minister David Cameron who is in Zurich lobbying Warner for his vote on the 2018 finals.

    Newsday is also reporting that Warner threw his weight around, scolding the British PM for a hefty tourism tax that the British government has instituted on its natives traveling to Caricom countries. The tax ranges from 50 to 150 British Pounds. At Warner's strong urging, PM Cameron reportedly telephoned Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and promised a review of the travel tax.

    No surprises are expected later today then. Although the vote takes place in secret, we strongly suspect that Jack is in the tank for England in 2018 and USA in 2022. We'll see how many of his fellow committee members agree.

    So I was wrong about the surprises. But it all comes down to which country spent the most money behind the scenes. And with Britain's whining about FIFA corruption over the past couple weeks, I'm sure that worked against them. What I find interesting is the way FIFA makes the world leaders come to the bid announcement and publicly grovel at the whims and fancies of the committee members, then put the daggers between their eyes.