Warner’s FIFA challenges

We are aware that local opinion on this matter, and on Jack Warner generally, spreads across a spectrum from total support and hope for his vindication, to the wish that he be found guilty and punished. While we wait upon the result of the investigation, we harbour the hope that Jack Warner will be acquitted of these charges. We do so as a concerned media operating within TT, and recognising the stain which a guilty verdict will bring to us generally, as one of our own, having reached a summit internationally, may now be brought down. However, we also support Jack because of what he has become to us all as a Government minister in our country.

Jack Warner is not new to controversy. His role surrounding the football match against the United States on November 19 1989 has never been fully ventilated. The Commission of Inquiry appointed by the NAR government in 1990 was discontinued by the PNM government in 1992.

In the interim, Warner had been elected President of CONCACAF at a hostile Congress held in Guatemala City. Warner’s unlikely campaign for the CONCACAF Presidency had been led by the USSF’s Chuck Blazer, the man now accusing him, and sponsored by the United States and Canada, along with Caribbean nations and Costa Rica. Chuck Blazer was appointed General Secretary, a position he still holds. The CONCACAF head office was moved to New York, and the Federation developed into a powerful arm of FIFA, with renewed sponsorship and influence across the world.

Warner’s work ethic saw him rise through FIFA over the ensuing years, getting him appointed to several FIFA Committees. However, here at home several remained skeptical about his rise and never forgave Warner for his perceived role in the now-legendary loss to the United States in 1989. But he was deeply appreciated in CONCACAF, and moreso in the CONCACAF “sub-region” of the Caribbean Football Union, whose football he helped to develop and promote.

We need not rehash the charges brought by Blazer and FIFA, at this time. But they follow the allegations from a former, albeit discredited Chairman of the England FA that Warner, and others, that Jack had sought bribes from him for supporting England’s Bid for the 2018 World Cup. We also accept that the USSF is still “smarting” from their failure to secure the rights to host the 2022 World Cup, which has been awarded to Qatar.

Bin Hammam, who had been debarred by the United States government from attending the CONCACAF meeting in Miami in March, where Blatter had spoken in support of his own candidacy, subsequently addressed CFU countries in Trinidad. It is here that the alleged bribes took place.

The fact that Bin Hammam came to Trinidad to press his campaign is not, in itself, a wrong. All candidates have traditionally travelled the world to seek support.

Jack Warner has claimed he has done no wrong, but also stated that if he has to make a choice between serving FIFA or the people of Trinidad and Tobago, he will quit his FIFA position.

We hope it does not come to that.


"Warner’s FIFA challenges"

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