PORT OF SPAIN: Jack Warner has welcomed Mohamed Bin Hamman’s CAS victory over FIFA as the beginning of the “unmasking” of the world football federation writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Warner was reacting to Thursday’s decision in Lausanne by the Court of Arbitration for Sport to scrap a lifetime ban imposed by FIFA’s ethics commission last summer on the Qatari.
Bin Hammam had always denied a charge that he had sought to bribe delegates from member associations of the Caribbean Football Union to vote for him in his FIFA presidential contest with long-serving Sepp Blatter. The charges stemmed from an election conference organized by Warner in Port of Spain in May last year.
Warner, then a vice-president of FIFA as well as president of regional bodies CONCACAF and the CFU, evaded an ethics committee summons by quitting all football administration. He did while promising a “football tsunami” of revelations about FIFA which have yet to materialize.
Now Minister for National Security in the Trinidad & Tobago government, Warner said he felt “relieved” and vindicated over the CAS verdict. He added: “I waited a little more than a year for this day and now I feel, not only in a sense relieved, but I feel comforted.”
Warner acknowledged the support of friends and colleagues, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, for believing in him. He claimed that, had he not quit football to concentrate on his political career, he would also have been found not guilty by CAS.
However he had not been prepared “to go through this charade” because, for one thing, “I could not afford it.”
Bin Hammam, who my now reclaim his pre-ban status as president of the Asian football confederation, has yet to confirm his next steps.
Warner had insisted at one stage that he would keep his counsel until after the Bin Hammam verdict. Thursday was thus his theoretical trigger and he recalled: “Very early, I said to you all wait and even today I tell you again, more is coming, so wait, guys, wait.”
Reviewing his own history within FIFA and relationship with general secretary then president Sepp Blatter, Warner said: “The crime committed in Blatter’s eyes was that an opponent [Bin Hammam] was going against him to change the structure of FIFA. That is why I opposed Blatter in the election.
“I was his right-hand man until I said enough was enough . . . I left football, I dusted football off my feet a year ago and that is a permanent position. I want nothing from football and I do not expect to go back to football in the long term or the short term.”
He termed FIFA’s conduct as having been “reprehensible” and that it was now becoming “unmasked.”
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