FIFA’s bribery hearings in Zurich disintegrated into claim and counter-claim as the world governing body’s leaders turned on each other.
Jack Warner unleashed his threatened “tsunami” after he and Asian confederation president Mohamed Bin Hammam were suspended by FIFA’s ethics committee pending the outcome of a full inquiry into allegations they paid officials 40,000 dollars each in bribes.
Warner claimed FIFA president Sepp Blatter made gifts of computers to officials plus an unauthorised 1million US dollar gift to the CONCACAF federation – and that FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke suggested the 2022 World Cup was “bought”.
The rows further deepened the crisis into which the organisation has been plunged.
Warner said in a statement: “I indicated that at the Miami CONCACAF Congress on May 3 Mr Blatter made a gift of one million USD to CONCACAF to spend as it deems fit.
“This annoyed [UEFA] President Michel Platini who was present and he approached secretary general Jerome Valcke complaining that Mr Blatter had no permission from the finance committee to make this gift to which Jerome replied that he will find the money for Mr Blatter.
“I also indicated... FIFA through Mr Blatter organised gifts of laptops and projectors to all members of the Caribbean and no objections have been made today of this to date.”
Warner said 13 federations had written to the ethics committee backing him up.
Warner’s apparent revelation of an email from Valcke about Bin Hammam running against Blatter for FIFA president is potentially even more explosive.
Valcke, according to Warner’s statement, wrote to him suggesting that Qatari Bin Hammam had “bought” the 2022 World Cup for his country.
Warner added: “I wrote Valcke telling him, among other things, that the outcome of the elections may cause some fracture in the Arab world which we can ill afford now and that I will like to ask Bin Hammam to withdraw from the race.
“To which Jerome replied to me and I quote: ’For MBH, I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB [Blatter]. Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC’.”
Bin Hammam withdrew from the FIFA presidential election and Valcke announced that the election, with Blatter as the only candidate, will take place as scheduled on Wednesday.
Valcke, meanwhile, defended Blatter’s right to stand in the election but accepted the scandal was “a watershed moment” for FIFA.
Valcke said: “I don’t see what is wrong with this election with Mr Sepp Blatter. I think the most important thing is a commitment from all the members of the FIFA ExCo with the president to support a change within FIFA and in his last mandate make sure that FIFA is stronger and cleaner than it was.
“Maybe we can have the top guys around the world come to put things in place to stop that these things from happening again.”