ZURICH: FIFA’s attempt to silence allegations over the sales of World Cup television rights to Jack Warner appears to have failed writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
New evidence has been published in Germany to raise further questions over how much even the old disgraced executive committee knew about negotiations between Warner and president Sepp Blatter.
The German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung has come up with a private written note sent by Blatter’s right-hand man, Jerome Valcke, to Warner, the former FIFA vice-president and one-time president of the Central and North American confederation [CONCACAF] and the Caribbean Football Union.
In the note Valcke writes: “Here is the agreement signed by the P [the president]. This deal has not been through all normal boards or comm. Hence so I’m asking to make no publicity on it for the time being. Kind regards, Jérôme.”
The note itself has been validated by FIFA, according to SDZ, but with the observation that there is no suggestion as to what ‘business’ it concerns.
Valcke joined FIFA as the head of marketing in 2003, left in December 2006 as apparent scapegoat for the MasterCard/Visa sponsor switch storm only to return seven months later as general secretary (now termed secretary-general).
He was involved in controversary last spring when Warner published an email in which Valcke appeared to cast doubt on the manner in which Qatar had acquired host rights to the 2020 World Cup.
The background to this latest episode in the long-running FIFA credibility crisis is that Warner has alleged Blatter arranged to sell him World Cup TV rights in the Caribbean for a nominal sum in return for the delivery of CONCACAF’s 35 votes in successive presidential elections.
FIFA has denied the allegation of vote-rigging while confirming that Warner had been sold TV rights on the cheap; it claimed this had been undertaken by a Mexican TV rights company on the understanding that the ultimate surplus would be channelled by Warner into football development programmes in the region.
The Warner/TV row has added a further complication to Blatter’s attempt to regain personal credibility while pushing through structural reforms with the assistance of the Basel governance expert Mark Pieth. Transparency International and several investigative journalists have declined invitations to join the various reforms committees and ‘task forces.’