Tue, Aug


Former Vice President of FIFA and President of CONCACAF and CFU, Mr. Jack Warner, has broken his silence following news that nine officials of the CFU were appointed in Zurich on Wednesday to look after the affairs of the CFU.

Former Vice President of FIFA and President of CONCACAF and CFU, Mr. Jack Warner, has broken his silence following news that nine officials of the CFU were appointed in Zurich on Wednesday to look after the affairs of the CFU.

In a statement on Friday, Mr. Warner admitted that from June 19th, 2011 to the present, he tried his best to say nothing about football, whether at the regional level or at the international level and on the FIFA in particular. But this has now changed following the meeting of Caribbean Presidents with FIFA in Zurich on 20th and 21st December.

The following is the statement from Mr. Warner:

"It is understood that Yves Jean-Bart (Haiti), by correspondence dated November 17, 2011 advised the membership that "FIFA has acquiesced to assist by hosting a workshop for the PRESIDENTS of all thirty (30) Member Associations of the CFU".

By further correspondence dated December 1, 2011, Jean-Bart informed on the appointment of a CFU Finance Task Force which will "present a report to the CFU Presidents Meeting in Zurich on December 20, 2011."

The suggestion therefore was that the representatives of the Caribbean MAs went to Europe to attend a CFU meeting with all the implications of such a meeting. Firstly, to set the record straight and of particular significance in this scenario is the fact that neither the CFU nor the CONCACAF is a member of FIFA, with the CFU being the regional administrative arm of the CONCACAF. Therefore neither organization has any legal standing within the FIFA or vice versa.

Notwithstanding the above, the Presidents attended the meeting in Zurich to presumably discuss various matters that should have been within the sole purview of the CFU membership. It is understood that an agenda based on a false premise was developed and when it was discovered that the meeting went against the constitution of the CFU, an Extraordinary Congress of the CFU Presidents was hastily called for the next day.

At this unconstitutional CFU Congress, certain decisions were taken by the FIFA President, decisions which the Presidents of twenty-six of the thirty national associations present, accepted without even consulting with their members who they purported to represent.

Kudos to the Presidents of the Anguilla and St. Vincent and the Grenadines FA as well as the Acting Presidents of the Jamaica Football Federation and the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation for their full understanding of the constitution of the CFU and for taking a responsible stand against the FIFA and its unethical actions.

Among the unethical decisions which were accepted by the twenty-six cowardly men and women present was "the appointment of a Normalization Committee to execute various tasks on behalf of the CFU." This "Normalisation Committee" comprises of nine persons, including the suspended President of the Jamaica Football Federation, who will assume his appointment on 16 January 2012 upon completion of his suspension from all football activities.

Between this and the presence of Angenie Kanhai who was supposedly to have resigned as General Secretary of the CFU effective December 20, 2011, this meeting has to be a farce of epic proportions.

All Caribbean peoples should be ashamed of these 26 persons who are prepared to accept the crumbs of the FIFA President when in the very recent past these same men and women used to dine at his table as equals.  Other "decisions" handed down to the CFU are:

•         the appointment of an interim CFU General Secretary;
•         review of the new CFU statutes to be proposed by the CFU Legal Committee;
•         preparation of the 2011 Annual Report;
•         setting a date for a CFU extraordinary congress to approve the new CFU statutes - such date to be no later than 90 days after 20 December 2011;
•         setting a date for the for the 2012 ordinary congress - such date to be no later than 15 May 2012 - for the election of members of the CFU executive committee, among other things;
•         appointing a Legal Committee, a Finance Committee and a Football Committee;
•         making recommendations to the membership as to the legal domicile of the CFU;
•         appointing two observers to attend all CONCACAF meetings or working groups; and
•         consulting with the CONCACAF on the appointment of a member of the Normalisation Committee as the Caribbean zone representative to the FIFA executive committee. This person will hold observer status.

The above "decisions" that were handed down to the members of the Caribbean while in a European country only serve to emphasize the unconstitutional not to mention unethical actions of those who wholeheartedly agreed and endorsed these actions but which beg more questions.

(i)            Was the date and venue for the 2012 Congress not set by the Congress of 2011 that was held in Montego Bay, Jamaica on February 14, 2011?
(ii)           Why was Captain Horace Burrell appointed a member of this so-called normalisation committee when he was suspended for six months by the same FIFA? Is it that if he agrees to serve three months he will be on two year's probation during which time he will have to carry out the dictates of FIFA to avoid being suspended for the other three months?

Never in the history of the FIFA has an organization that is NOT a member of FIFA been subject to the "law" of FIFA. Such demands that were made of the CFU by the FIFA under the guise of caring and concern would never, ever, be made of the UEFA or any other regional arm of football for that matter but, in the Caribbean, this is acceptable. What was not discussed and that should have been brought to the table were:

•         the status of the FIFA Development Office in the Caribbean and the termination by the FIFA, without reason, of the contracts of all officers of this office.
•        the termination, by the FIFA, of the contracts of the Trinidadian FIFA Referee Development Officers Ramesh Ramdhan and Merere Gonzales; again without explanation, without reason.
•         the suspension of the Caribbean's only female President (BVI ) for 18 months despite the FIFA President's claim that the "Future of Football is Feminine". Was the lady being punished for being outspoken?
•         the impact such unethical decisions would have on the development of football in the region.
•         the FIFA's unethical and high handed behaviour to Barbadian Lisle Austin, the legally Acting President of the CONCACAF.
•         the arbitrary postponement of the legal and constitutional meeting of the CFU Extraordinary Congress called for by 13 members.

Instead of the above, Caribbean members travelled to Europe to be dictated to and to be wined and dined by the FIFA President. By their ready acceptance of the mandate set by the FIFA President, 26 so-called Caribbean leaders have demonstrated that they are more interested in serving themselves than serving those persons who elected them to office.

For their cooperation and subservience the FIFA President has promised Ms. Kanhai that she will become a full time employee of the FIFA, thereby satisfying a dream of hers since she completed her Swiss Masters Degree at no expense to her; with a similar promise being made to Jeff Webb of fulfilling his long time dream to become a member of the FIFA Executive Committee even if he is only an Observer at this stage and finally with Captain Burrell to be reinstated at the CONCACAF Executive Committee.

In one fell swoop, the Caribbean football leadership has now undone its struggle of some 33 years and has disrespected the entire region!

I am advised that the so-called "Extraordinary Congress" also discussed the issue of the World Cup TV rights in the region but I will not deal with that issue here today. That shall be dealt with on Wednesday December 28, 2011 when I will trace the history of those rights and show the part played by the FIFA President and his General Secretary since 2002 and the promise made for 2018/22.

Also to be dealt with in the future will be the question as to why both Chuck Blazer and I, for several months before the FIFA Presidential elections, had consistently discussed the question of using our best efforts to replace the FIFA President because we both had recognized that a fish begins to rot from its head and why the same Chuck Blazer had a sudden change of heart.

The arrogance with which the FIFA continues to ride roughshod over duly appointed officials of both the CFU and the CONCACAF is not just unethical but plain outright immoral. It demonstrates the crass disrespect to the independence and sanctity of the Constitutions of both organisations because the FIFA imposes on these two organisations its will which is neither recognized by FIFA's constitution nor the constitutions of the CFU and the CONCACAF.

This clearly is the colonising of the CFU and the CONCACAF at best and at worst it represents a hostile takeover of organisations in which it has no locus standi or even a hierarchical relationship. One cannot help but wonder whether it is because of the colour and texture of these organisations that this abuse is allowed to continue without a voice being heard from among its own membership and the the wider football community.

This type of behaviour would have evoked the ire of world football if FIFA had attempted such a coup d'etat at UEFA. The response would have been so vociferous that even attempts by the FIFA to apologise would have been drowned out. But to date not a word, not a voice, not an action of note to condemn the FIFA's new approach from anyone within the FIFA and this leaves those of us who are conscious about maintaining the sacredness of constitutions in a state of bewilderment.

The FIFA must never be allowed to continue without a voice of dissent being raised against such malfeasance. The FIFA President must not be allowed to continue the demeaning of people of colour without someone raising a voice to tell him enough is enough. The FIFA President cannot continue faux pas after faux pas with impunity especially when all his wrongdoings are along the same vector of megalomania, covert racism and discrimination.

The time has come to break the silence. One must no longer accept silence as affirming the wrong being perpetuated by the FIFA. In this regard I have decided to break my silence.

If by my statement today and others to follow it means that I shall be summoned to face the FIFA President's Ethics Committee, the FIFA President's Disciplinary Committee or the FIFA President's Appeals Committee, then I challenge the FIFA to so do.

But I am no longer prepared to sit back and watch from the sidelines, while a few men (and women) destroy an entire region for their own selfish and self-serving motives, for the crumbs from the table of the FIFA President and for a business class ticket and two-days allowance.

Jack Warner
Former President CFU, CONCACAF, FIFA Vice President
December 23, 2011