Football Scandal: Warner Alleges Conspiracy Against CFU

Port of Spain, Oct 14 (IANS/CMC): Jack Warner has described as a "conspiracy" against the Caribbean the leak of a video appearing to show him urging officials to accept cash gifts from former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam.

In the video, the former FIFA vice president can be heard urging fellow Caribbean Football Union officials to accept $40,000 cash gifts from bin Hammam at a meeting held May 11 in the Trinidad and Tobago capital.

Warner admitted Wednesday that the voice on the tape, urging Caribbean officials to accept the money and use it for development, was indeed his own.

But the former president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and CONCACAF said the timing of the leak in a week in which 15 regional officials are facing ethics committee hearings showed FIFA was prepared to do all it could to defend its position.

"The release of this video is tantamount to contempt because it seeks to influence international opinion against what is clearly a conspiracy against the delegates of the Caribbean Football Union," said Warner in a media statement.

"Moreover, there are a lot more questions which the FIFA should answer from this convenient revelation."

He said: "The Caribbean delegates are currently in Zurich and are actively involved in disciplinary proceedings established by the FIFA so this leak is clearly subjudicious and contrary to the very principles of law and justice.

"Regretfully, this is what defines the FIFA; a perceived right to do all in its power, right or wrong, to defend its own."

Warner, the T&T minister of works and infrastructure, said the individuals responsible for recording the meeting and subsequent release of its contents showed a clear case of entrapment.

He noted they were part of a conspiracy aimed at weakening CONCACAF through the CFU, its largest voting bloc.

"Thus, Caribbean men and women are excluded from the decision-making process in CONCACAF and FIFA in the future," he said.

Warner said that the CFU officials will not receive a fair hearing because FIFA president Sepp Blatter had to be "as an honourable man weeding out corruption from the FIFA".

"So, the tiny Union in the Caribbean must be the scapegoat; and a team of officials, all Swiss and strategically located along the FIFA's hierarchical strata, is in place to ensure that their Swiss brother, Sepp Blatter, emerges with his integrity intact," he said. "Clearly, the Swiss seems to have a morality of their own."

Warner maintained that he had been the longest serving member of FIFA and that the truth will be revealed in time.

Warner resigned when faced with the accusations and bin Hammam has been banned for life by FIFA for his role in the alleged bribery incident.


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Title: Football Scandal: Warner Alleges Conspiracy Against CFU

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