KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTING
– LONDON/NEW YORK: Chuck Blazer hit back at ‘fantasy’ accusations by Jack Warner after a busy day of speculation, claim and counter-claim in what has become a typical run-up to a meeting of the FIFA executive committee later this week.
Warner, former vice-president of FIFA and ex-president of CONCACAF, had issued an open letter on Tuesday in which he promised a “tsunami” of revelations about the world federation in general and CONCACAF general-secretary Blazer and FIFA president Sepp Blatter in particular.
Simultaneously Blatter is considering whether to ask the Swiss courts to reverse an agreement with FIFA and publish documents relating to the collapse of one-time marketing partner ISL. The documents are widely claimed to contain evidence of illicit payments to former FIFA president Joao Havelange, his ex-son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira – under-pressure boss of Brazilian football – and South American confederation leader Nicolas Leoz.
It was claimed in Rio de Janeiro Brazil that Blatter’s hand was being forced because the Brazilian fraud squad will be asking the Swiss courts to hand over the documentation to assist in allegatiions against Teixeira and his brother of international money-laundering.
Reacting to Warner’s latest outburst, Blazer said: “[His] references to me [are] an amazing work of fantasy. If Jack has demonstrated anything during this process, it is that he says whatever he wants and then subsequently the facts prove he was lying. ”
The 66-year-old American who is also a member of the FIFA exco, denied any knowledge of the creation of an apparently secret video recording of Warner talking about ‘gifts’ from then-presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam at a Caribbean Football Union conference in May.
Blazer said: “I wish I could take credit for having anything to do with the tape, but I didn’t. At the time of the taping, I hadn’t even spoken with JAW [Warner]. He was to have called me at 8am, but didn’t do it until after noon. The meeting he held started at 830am. In time, the source of the tape will come out, but I had nothing to do with it and saw it for the first time online in [Daily Telegraph's] story.
“Regarding the other garbage from Warner’s mouth, since 1990, he had his personal accountant do the review of our books in New York. If there was anything wrong, he would have had it reported to him and it would have been addressed. To the contrary, each year we submitted an audited set of books to the Congress and biennial budgets which were accepted and approved by the membership with great happiness over our growth and development, together with the fiscal policies that provided for ample reserves and operating funds.
“Warner is desperate. ”
Blazer would not assess Warner’s allegations against Blatter, saying: “I can’t say anything about those. I wasn’t part of that.”
In Trinidad and Tobago, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was urged to suspend Warner from the government, in which he is Minister of Works, by opposition MP Amery Browne.
In a parliamentary debate on the budget in the Lower House, Browne said: “I am now calling on our Prime Minister to stop procrastinating and vacillating and immediately suspend the Minister of Works.”
** Julio Grondona, senior FIFA vice-president, has been re-elected as president of the Argentinian football federation for the ninth term since 1979.