FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, in response to the St Lucian media following the initiation of their FIFA Goal Project on Friday, on questions of the reports in Trinidad and Tobago about an alleged ticketing scandal for its World Cup matches, has said that he has nothing to worry about regarding the false allegations.
“I have been fighting for T&T football for over 25 years. I am not trying to make this about Jack Warner but there is nobody who has made a contribution to T&T football more than I but I have done this because I have always felt inferior to be a Vice President of FIFA and to be a deputy chairman of a FIFA finance committee among my colleagues in FIFA as someone who comes from a country that has never qualified for FIFA’s highest competitio n. When we couldn’t quality, I at one time beg the Government to host one which we did successfully in 2001. The fact is I had passion for qualifying. I felt it would have a spin off effect in a positive way for the country and so on. As such we went on to qualify and as we qualified, we had two weeks of honeymoon. I was King, they said Jack for Prime Minister and so on and then it was felt that this kind of popularity was of course catapulting the opposition and I was being seen as a threat (as also deputy leader of the Opposition Party), bringing all the people together. To fast track it, it just went on to the local newspapers who got one of their journalists to carry on the task.
“Simpaul’s travel service is one which the Warner family has a beneficial interest offering World Cup packages since 1994. Simpaul’s Travel Agency began paying 20,00 for the rights in years before to $500, 000 a couple months ago. In connection with European tour operator then put some packages on the market for sale. They paid in July and August and September t for those rights and such therefore it was advertised. No one believed the team could qualify other than Jack Warner. In other words even if the team did not qualify, those tickets would have been on sale. When the team qualified now the whole hype built up and everyone wanted to be on the bandwagon and wanted tickets and they said Simpaul’s had all the tickets in a monopoly,” Warner said.
“The fact is, and hear me well, the Federation did not apply for its tickets until last week. December 25 when every newspaper would say Merry Christmas to its readers, there was a big headline - Warner family hits jackpot. The whole intention was to tarnish me and they then sent the story worldwide, At the end of the day it does not affect Jack Warner because my skin and this wall has the same thickness but when you go to the family I have a problem, Then on January 3 I made my response which they have since tried to investigate and they can’t find anything, because at the end of the day the tickets Simpaul’s is offering the market have nothing to do with the T&T allocation.
”Its allocation came only last week but this was done to destroy Jack Warner in some way. They believe I am close to Mr (Sepp) Blatter, which I am, and they are bringing out this book, but let FIFA deal with that. I sleep very sound at nights. They have also spoken about scandal and corruption. He (The Writer from T&T) had applied for accreditation and he was turned down and there’s a big story in today’s papers and again they are attacking Jack Warner. How could you attack the FIFA, Jack Warner and Blatter in the worse way and then want to cover the sport that these people administer,” Warner said.
“But there are two mistakes that they have made. In the first case they did not know that the TTFF applied for its tickets only last week. They thought it was since November or December and they thought this was now the Simpaul’s tickets and then they didn’t know that Simpaul’s had paid since July for their tickets and I had the receipts to show. In some ways I have a loyalty with FIFA and they have to me that these people cannot dismantle. I have been fighting for the region, CONCACAF and Trinidad and Tobago and not one day have I fought for me, so the records are there to show you,” Warner added.
Prior to this, there had been reports in a Trinidad newspaper that Warner and his family had been involved in Simpaul’s ticket package for T&T’s matches in which they were using tickets allocated to the T&T Federation as a qualified member and that these tickets were only being sold as part of packages in which Warner stood to make millions in profits.