Warner suspicious of lifetime ban timing

Disgraced former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has claimed there is no coincidence that his lifetime ban has been announced at the same time that Sepp Blatter is engulfed by a storm of controversy.

More than four years after quitting Fifa, Warner has found himself banned from football for life by the association’s ethics committee and described as a “key player” involved in illegal payments.

Warner has claimed there has been an attempt to distract from the investigations into Fifa president Blatter and Uefa president Michel Platini, who are themselves under scrutiny from the ethics committee.

Warner said in an email: “I left the Fifa in April 2011 and if in September 2015 the Fifa wants to ban me for life without even a hearing then so be it. I do not believe however that this will serve as the distraction to the Fifa’s present problems as the Fifa wishes it to be.

“Given what is happening in Zurich with Blatter I wish to say that there is no such thing as coincidence.”

The Swiss attorney general on Friday opened criminal proceedings against Blatter, probing a £1.3m (€1.75m) payment to Platini and TV rights deals with Warner.

Platini and Blatter both issued statements on Monday denying any wrongdoing and insisted the payment to the Frenchman was legitimate despite it coming more than nine years after the Frenchman had worked for Fifa.

Warner, who is fighting extradition from Trinidad to the USA on corruption charges, resigned from Fifa in June 2011 following a bribery scandal and has not been involved since then.

Initially Fifa said it had no power to take action against him as he had resigned with “the presumption of innocence”.

However Fifa’s ethics committee re-opened an investigation into Warner earlier this year and has now issued the ban.

A statement from the ethics committee said: “Mr Warner was found to have committed many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official in different high-ranking and influential positions at Fifa and CONCACAF.

“In his positions as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, as well as other money-making schemes.”

The decision was taken on the basis of investigations carried out by the investigatory chamber of the ethics committee following its report on the inquiry into the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process, the Garcia report into the bidding process identified Warner as having received or asked for money, often in the form of development money, from bidders.

Chung Mong-Joon, the Korean who is running against Platini for the presidency, said Fifa is in “total meltdown” and needs to set up an emergency task force to run the organisation until a successor to Blatter is elected.

Chung said: “The 2018 World Cup qualifying matches continue to be held. Many football development programmes continue to be implemented. However, Fifa that should be overseeing all this is in a total meltdown.

“Under such circumstances, Fifa and regional confederations should consider convening extra-ordinary sessions of their respective executive committee as well as congress to set up an emergency task force that will enable the Fifa Secretariat to function without interruption.

“Fifa is currently facing an unprecedented crisis. However, this is also an unprecedented opportunity to reform it.

“If all those who love football can bring their collective wisdom to bear on reforming Fifa, it will be possible to save and revitalise it.

“The most urgent task at hand is to root out corruption from within Fifa.”

Meanwhile, Eduardo Li, one of the seven officials arrested in Zurich in May, has had his extradition to the USA approved by the Swiss federal office of justice (FoJ).

Li, the former president of the Costa Rican FA, has 30 days in which to appeal to the Swiss Federal Criminal Court.

He is the third of the seven officials to have his extradition approved, while former Fifa vice-president Jeffrey Webb is on bail in the USA after agreeing to be extradited.


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