Warner is one of four officials who are to appear before the committee in what is now one of the biggest bribery scandals to hit FIFA. The others are FIFA president Sepp Blatter, FIFA vice-president Mohamed Bin Hammam and CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer.
However, despite promises to the local media to provide the full statement which he would have presented to the FIFA ethics committee during today’s hearing yesterday, Warner did not deliver. Communications officer at CONCACAF, Hema Ramkissoon, said yesterday that Warner would instead issue the statement to the local media today. Attempts to reach Warner, who is also president of CONCACAF, after he touched down in Switzerland yesterday were unsuccessful.
Both Warner and Bin Hammam were called before the ethics committee after allegations made by Blazer accusing the two men of offering bribes of US$40,000 to Caribbean delegates in return for votes at this Wednesday’s FIFA presidential election. They have both denied the allegations.
Bin Hammam, however, countered that Blatter, one of the most powerful men in football, broke ethics rules by not reporting alleged corruption attempts. FIFA’s ethics rules require officials to report any evidence of violations of conduct.
Blatter, who is seeking a fourth term as FIFA president, has also declined to issue a statement before the hearing, stating, “I cannot comment on the proceedings that have been opened against me. The facts will speak for themselves.”
It was alleged that Blatter “turned a blind eye” to the alleged bribes. He, however, described suggestions that he “master-minded” the scandal to remove his rival from the race as “ludicrous.”
He also dismissed claims that he had orchestrated a smear campaign against Bin Hamman and Warner, who has long been considered the kingmaker in the presidential election, with his control of the 40 CONCACAF votes the key to either candidate’s success.
While Blatter said he was “saddened and deeply unhappy about the charges levelled against a man (Bin Hammam) whose friendship I enjoyed for many years,” he praised Blazer for compiling the report that included the allegations.
The ethics panel can effectively hand Blatter victory in the election by suspending Bin Hammam from duty.
The panel could rule that wrongdoing was proven, or it could provisionally bar Bin Hammam if it requests more time to study the evidence.