Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner is making headlines again. The Daily Telegraph reports he, his sons and an employee were paid more than $2 million by a Qatari firm related to the 2022 World Cup bid in 2011. Of that figure, $1.2 million went to Warner personally through shell companies.
Given Warner’s track record, the only surprising thing would be if that was the whole of it. Below are his corroborated and reported wrongdoings.
* Warner resigned as FIFA vice president in 2011, after being accused of bribing Caribbean delegates with $40,000 cash to vote for Mohammed Bin Hammam, the Qatari head of the Asian Football Confederation, who was running against Sepp Blatter for FIFA president. In exchange for his resignation, FIFA’s dropped its investigation.
* Warner was paid more than $6 million to build a Trinidad and Tobago Center of Excellence to deliver votes to Sepp Blatter running for FIFA election in 1998. The eventual facility cost to international organizations was more than $20 million. The center was built on land owned by Warner. Ownership stayed in the hands of private companies owned by Warner and charged FIFA and CONCACAF rent and usage fees.
* Warner is alleged to have made more than $350,000 selling FIFA tickets to the 2002 World Cup.
* The Scottish FA accused him of asking for a Trinidad and Tobago friendly fee to be made to him in a personal check.
* For the 2006 World Cup, Warner set up a travel agency Simpaul headed by his son. The agency turned more than $1 million in profit selling World Cup tickets and made around $2.8 million selling hotel rooms. FIFA fined Warner’s son for the approximate amount of the tickets (It’s not clear that was ever paid). Neither FIFA nor CONCACAF removed him from office.
* Warner also tried to screw Trinidad and Tobago players out of millions earned on the 2006 World Cup. Players agreed with the federation to split half the commercial profit from their appearance. Warner reported revenue of $1.5 million, roughly the expense of attending the tournament, and offered players $800 per person. The actual revenue was around $24 million.
* In 2010, Lord Treisman, then chairman of England’s 2018 World Cup bid, accused Warner of soliciting a $4 million payment to build a Trinidad and Tobago educational center and $800,000 for Haiti to buy TV rights in exchange for votes for England’s bid. Both payments were to be made to Warner personally. Warner eventually supported Russia for 2018. He also, reportedly, pocketed money from Australia’s World Cup bid.
* In 2010, $750,000 intended for Haiti Earthquake relief entered an account controlled by Warner and never arrived to its destination.
Lest you think his corruption was confined to the world of international football, Warner served simultaneously as Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of National Security.
So why did FIFA do virtually nothing to Warner? Probably due to him having accrued a lot of knowledge over 29 years on the FIFA executive committee, some of which he threatened to release in a “football tsunami” while facing bribery charges. He’s not entirely off base when claiming Sepp Blatter “hung him out to dry.” Much of Warner’s activity, in an organization controlling billions in funds with almost no oversight, appears to have been standard operating procedure.
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