02 May 2010
- Written by Andrew Jennings
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It seems that Sepp Blatter’s covert campaign to evict Jack Warner from FIFA is getting under the skin of the UNC Chairman. Blatter is a subtle operator and his deftly managed campaign to give global publicity to my presentation at the Ritz-Carlton in Miami next week to an audience of US government investigators and prosecutors is rightly worrying Mr Warner.
The money-making activities of the Warner family bring nothing but embarrassment and shame to Blatter and FIFA. They want rid of him, his sons, his entourage and their perpetual scandals which increasingly irritate the global brands that fund world football.
Their endless racketeering in World Cup tickets - going back as far as the notorious 1989 qualifier versus USA - and coming up to date with FIFA levying a US$1 million fine on Daryan Warner for the family’s profiteering in Germany in 2006, as yet unpaid, continues to bring FIFA into discredit.
Blatter has had enough. So he has pulled out all the stops to tell the world about my forensic presentation about his FIFA vice-president. I have heard that T&T media is interested in my speech – indeed the Express has been in touch asking me. I am told that all the big American media will be there – it’s a very prestigious conference – and CNN will broadcast
In Miami on Tuesday I will be adding to what I disclosed as the invited speaker at the Cape Town Press Club last week and a day later delivering the keynote address at a book launch in the same city at the prestigious Institute of Security Studies (see report in the New York Times).
I made similar disclosures at a conference of forensic auditors in Kampala last summer and at Wits University in Johannesburg in November. The African people that I meet don’t consider Mr Warner to be their brother and will shun him and his grasping family during the World Cup.
The private comments to me by a former inmate of apartheid’s notorious Robben Island jail about Mr Warner and FIFA, as he took me to meet the impoverished footballing children of a Cape township last week, cannot be published in a family newspaper.
Students of football politics will be aware of how President Blatter manoeuvres against those he wants out of FIFA. Admittedly such tactics backfired against Asian football president Mr Mohamed Bin Hammam last year. Even as Blatter embraced the Qatari he sank the blade into his back, but missed his heart. Now, as the world knows, Bin Hammam has publically declared war on Blatter.
President Blatter is now making similar moves against Mr Warner, seeking to end the damage inflicted on FIFA, CONCACAF and the CFU. This time he is being more careful that the blade does not bounce back at him again.
So I find nonsensical the claims being bandied about by Mr Warner that I am coming to Trinidad to join the PNM campaign. This is news to me and my family and probably a surprise to the senior UNC official who welcomed me to his home when I was in Trinidad last August, teaching investigative journalism to reporters from across the Caribbean.
On that trip I met several UNC officials (thanks for the wonderful home-cooked food) and bumped into more in an upmarket bar. One I recall was Dr. Tim Gopeesingh. My only dealings with the PNM was spending five minutes chatting with Keith Rowley in 2001.
Mr Warner will doubtless continue baying to the moon about me being ‘one of the most discredited journalists in Christendom’ (does that mean I’m OK with Hindus, Muslims and all other faiths?) and in some imaginary conspiracy with the PNM.
I have neither offered myself nor will accept any involvement in the politics of T&TG. But I will report on all and any rogue where I have documentary evidence. Welcome to Miami.
I recall Warner in May 2006 claiming implausibly that I and my employers the BBC were partners in a conspiracy with Mr Manning. What is worrying for public life in T&T is that the demented Warner probably believes his own fantasies.
But enough from me, the journalist assailed by Mr Warner in Rio Claro in May 2006 as ‘an old white foreigner’ – view it on my website or on YouTube. What do non-political Trinis think?
I draw your attention to the angry press release issued yesterday by members of your marvellous 2006 Soca Warriors squad, denouncing Mr Warner for telling ‘untruths’ about them and his continued refusal to pay them the millions of dollars he owes. I hope you publish every word of it. As the Port of Spain court fails to rule, your heroes are being starved into submission.
Is that where the money has come from to fund Mr Warner’s campaign to find a new role in public life as he sees his FIFA career being brought to an end?
Now that is a real story. Not fantasies about an ‘old white foreigner.’
World Cup 2010 investigative book
Update - Ongoing matter between TTFF & members of the 2006 WC squad.
We, thirteen members of the Trinidad and Tobago 2006 WC Squad, have found it necessary and extremely important to inform the world’s media of our outrage concerning Mr Warner’s false and libellous comments in the media concerning our ongoing dispute with the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and Jack Warner, FIFA Vice President and Special Advisor to the TTFF.
We would like to make it clear that our timing is not of a political alignment, but merely a reaction to Mr Warner’s attempt to mislead the people of Trinidad and Tobago by telling untruths engineered to gain electoral mileage. We would ask the UNC: before you select Mr Warner, will you be questioning him over his financial irregularities and debt to us, or are you looking for your own version of Calder Hart?
Following an arbitration hearing in London on May 19th 2008, SDRP Chairman Ian Mill QC ruled that the players of the Trinidad and Tobago 2006 World Cup squad are entitled to 50% of all World Cup revenue as well as half of all the money Warner erroneously claimed was withheld by FIFA and the German organizing committee for tax.
Mr Mill ordered the TTFF to expeditiously permit sufficient inspection of its records by the players and declare any agreement that might be arguably considered as commercial revenue. Jack Warner and the TTFF have unbelievably ignored this order.
Mr Warner has been informing different media that he has reached a financial settlement with all but four of the 2006 World Cup squad members. This is totally false. The only individuals who have accepted financial settlement with the TTFF are the seven players who were never part of the arbitration/court process and three players who were, but whom eventually accepted a financial settlement.
In October 2009, our case went before the Trinidad and Tobago High Court and, according to our legal experts, was deemed straightforward and clear, with Trinidad and Tobago’s law, arbitration law and UK law, strongly substantiating our claim. Over six months have elapsed however with no sign of a judgement forthcoming. We have questioned the reason for such a delay.
We are certain that the population of Trinidad and Tobago and the global football family will be curious as to why a FIFA Vice President inexplicably ignored Mr Mill’s verdict and has yet to explain or show accounts of the $173,690,113.50 TTD (£17m approx) that the Trinidad and Tobago government confirmed the TTFF received from the public and private sector.
When we qualified for our first World Cup on November 17th 2005 in Manama, Bahrain we were all extremely proud to be able to bring joy and happiness to the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Now, five years later we are still waiting for our contract to be honoured. We sometimes wonder what we have done to deserve being treated this way by Jack Warner and the TTFF. After all, we kept up our end of the bargain by qualifying.
We the players have always wanted this unfortunate scenario to be sorted out promptly and fairly, thus allowing Trinidad and Tobago football to continue to thrive and for us to have further opportunity to achieve the success of Germany 2006.
Anthony Wolfe, Atiba Charles, Cornell Glen, Aurtis Whitley, Cyd Gray, Brent Sancho, Avery John, Collin Samuel, Stern John, Evans Wise, Kelvin Jack, Shaka Hislop, Kenwyne Jones.
Jack Warner’s forgotten men still await payday.
By Patrick Barclay (timesonline.co.uk).
The next stage of England’s campaign to host the 2018 World Cup, due shortly, is the presentation of the bid book. It would dignify the whole process if Jack Warner, one of the most influential Fifa bigwigs involved, were to open his own books.
The legal process patiently awaits sight of them — as do 13 Trinidad & Tobago footballers yet to be paid sums negotiated nearly five years ago for their part in the last World Cup.
You may vaguely remember the joyous scenes that accompanied Trinidad & Tobago’s qualification, and more sharply recall the obduracy of their resistance before Peter Crouch, having subtly tugged Brent Sancho’s dreadlocks, headed England into a late lead in Nuremberg.
The beaten goalkeeper was Shaka Hislop. He still awaits his money, conservatively estimated at £80,000 a man. Likewise Kenwyne Jones, who had come on as a debutant substitute, unaware that fate was to have him rubbing shoulders with Crouch and company in the Barclays Premier League.
Jones earns about £2.5 million a year from Sunderland, so his need for the £80,000 (or even double) being withheld by Warner is less than pressing. But several of the 13 are out of work, the latest being Kelvin Jack, whose short-term contract as a reserve goalkeeper with Southend United expired on Saturday.
Jack, who was 34 last week, once earned £80,000 a year with Gillingham, before suffering a broken leg on loan at Barnsley. Those halcyon days may never return and he has a family to feed, clothe and educate.
Warner’s family certainly get by. A man with more hats than Imelda Marcos had shoes, he has long been the leading light of the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) and president of the footballing region (Concacaf) that includes Mexico and the United States.
Warner also serves as a Fifa vice-president, which alone would be a guarantee of a lavish, expenses-paid lifestyle, without his other interests.
They include a political ambition that became evident when he was elected chairman of the United National Congress Alliance in 2007. Anyone voting for Warner in the forthcoming elections will be aware of his spiky approach to international relations.
Last year he poured scorn on England’s World Cup bid, saying it lacked “stardust” and describing the country’s footballing establishment as “an irritant”.
When the FA tried a peace offering in the form of a handbag given to his wife — along with the partners of other Fifa dignitaries — at a dinner in London, he angrily sent it back with a letter to Lord Triesman, the FA independent chairman, complaining that “her character and mine” had been tainted by the gift, which had become “a symbol of derision, betrayal and embarrassment”.
Embarrassment, however, tends to be like water off this duck’s back. After the 2006 World Cup, for instance, Fifa’s auditors estimated that the Warner family travel company had made more than £500,000 from selling match tickets for the tournament at up to three times face value. A fine was said to have been imposed, but Warner’s position within Fifa remained unaffected.
This has also been true of his dispute with the 13 players, however damning the details. After the 2006 World Cup, the TTFF declared revenue of £1.5 million and costs of almost the same amount and offered the players less than £500 each. When they refused, Warner accused them of “greed”. It was later revealed that revenue had been nearly £15 million.
The TTFF proposed arbitration by the UK Sports Dispute Resolution Panel and, after a hearing in May 2008, Ian Mill, QC, ruled overwhelmingly in favour of the 13 players (others, including Dwight Yorke, had accepted settlements).
No money has been forthcoming, despite recourse last October to the Trinidad & Tobago High Court. “We have questioned the reason for such a delay,” the players said in a circumspect statement.
Warner claims that he is no longer liable for the sums because the players breached a confidentiality agreement.
You can be sure that the FA will not be making awkward inquiries of Warner, and this is understandable, given the importance it places in the bid’s success.
Fifa has its own “ethics panel” but it was set up after the 2006 World Cup and we are told that it cannot deal with “retrospective matters”. The panel has nevertheless issued a stern call for impeccable ethics as the 2018 process advances.
By removing the shadow of the Warner dispute — by insisting that his organisation pays up or loses its seat at the game’s top table — Fifa could endow the era of Sepp Blatter, whose presidency is said to owe much to the vote-delivering power of Warner, with an ethical legacy, against all the odds.
Warner's financial dealings under scrutiny in Miami today.
By - Lasana Liburd (T&T Express).
United National Congress (UNC) Chairman and Federation of InternationalFootball Associations (FIFA) vice-president Austin Jack Warner’s financial dealings as a senior member of football’s world governing body comes under scrutiny today at the Eighth Annual OffshoreAlert Financial Due Diligence Conference at The Ritz-Carlton, SouthBeach, Miami, USA.
Andrew Jennings, an award winning British investigative journalist and filmmaker, is the closing speaker at the conference and will deliver a one-hour presentation entitled ’Corruption in Soccer’ from 4.15 p.m. (Miami time).
Warner stands accused of fraud, among other things, and a CONCACAF cheque used to pay a Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF) bill will be among the slides displayed by Jennings. The controversial cheque was first highlighted in an Express story on March 18, 2008, when the ’Soca Warriors’, the senior national soccer team, was paid part of its earnings for the 2006 World Cup through a CONCACAF account. Warner and T&TFF president Oliver Camps both denied knowledge of the payment although the Express received and still has a copy of the cheque.
’CONCACAF has nothing to do with the Soca Warriors (football team),’ Jennings told the Express yesterday.
’Americans may not be very interested in soccer but they are certainly interested in financial crime and American authorities would be disturbed to know Warner was using funds from an American bank in CONCACAF’s name to make such payments. It would appear to be improper use of CONCACAF funds.’
Jennings, who alleged that the cheque could be construed as evidence of corporate fraud, insisted that the more explosive revelations be kept private until after his presentation today. He did divulge that he draw parallels between FIFA and organised crime while paying particular attention to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer and Warner, who is also CONCACAF president.
Last Friday, Warner claimed that Jennings was a discredited journalist and a tool of the ruling People’s National Movement (PNM).
Jennings countered that the only time he worked on a Trinidad and Tobago story with obvious political links was an investigative piece by TV6 reporter Sasha Mohammed on ex-UDeCOTT chairman Calder Hart that rocked the ruling party. Mohammed confirmed that Jennings was her ’mentor’ during construction of the Hart story.
Other speakers during the three-day conference include Charlie Rawl, a former financial adviser to Allen Stanford who blew the whistle on the billion-dollar fraud of the Antigua-based tycoon.
Jennings insisted the timing of the conference was set months in advance and had nothing to do with the general election.
’This conference is run every year and Trinidad is not on radar. No one here cares about the Trinidad elections. What they care about is offshore, insurance and corporate fraud,’ he said.