Thu, Jun

FIFA honcho Austin “Jack” Warner may sound like a fool, but let me tell you, he is no fool.

He just likes to spend a great deal of his time convincing people he is a complete idiot.

But knave, he’s not.

When Warner brags that he will deal with FIFA in March, believe me, that is no idle boast.

That is not the ranting of a madman, but rather, the confidence of a man secure in the fact that his buddies in football’s governing body are so indebted to him, there is as much chance of him being sanctioned by FIFA as the Soca Warriors have of beating England at the World Cup Finals in Germany later this year.

Don’t be fooled, sports fans, FIFA isn’t a public-owned company with shareholders, this is a “private enterprise” and Warner is one of the senior partners.

Don’t forget Warner was instrumental in getting President Sepp Blatter appointed FIFA boss. Twice!

I will wager that these FIFA lords are going to have a hearty laugh on our collective heads in Zurich, and the “Spin Doctors” of FIFA’s Media and Communications Department will bury Warner’s indiscretion with a load of mumbo jumbo.

Yet, Warner insults our intelligence when he reveals that he brought the matter of Simpaul’s Travel Service’s sale and distribution of tickets for the World Cup to FIFA’s attention on January 18, 2006.

As Anil Roberts may scream: Whaaaaaat!

First up, ignorance of the law is no excuse, and that is pushing it, meaning, how could Warner not know that he was breaching FIFA’s rules of Ethics and Fairplay?

Wasn’t this man a schoolteacher at one point?

Surely he must have a modicum of intelligence.

The simplest promotional competition in TnT debars staff and immediate family members from participating, and for good reason; it must not only be fair, it must also appear to be fair.

Do you think Warner would allow any Concacaf employee to earn a penny from all those Concacaf tournaments in Trinidad and Tobago?

Hell, no!

But, Warner can talk the talk now because Trinidad and Tobago has qualified for the World Cup and he is riding the crest of that wave with political impunity.

All this “nonsense” about Warner investing “his” money into the Soca Warriors Qualifying “Jump Up” is a bunch of hogwash, because long before Lasana Liburd (bless that boy), journalists with the stones to hit Warner on the chin were knocking him for the wholesale plunder of this nation’s TV rights.

But now it’s “his” money to invest?

If the PNM had any credibility, the Jump Up in Germany would not be getting one red cent of our Petro dollars, especially with so much cash going to the Tarouba Transgression.

It is a wanton waste of taxpayers’ money.

Housing Minister Keith Rowley is quite right to use this opportunity to kick a ball into the FIFA goal about the award of contracts for the four stadia built here for the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in 1992, but even as one minister is calling for a probe, another is preparing to hand over $55 million to the man who would be the subject of the probe.

Getting FIFA to approve Press accreditation for Liburd is one thing, but to get FIFA to expel Warner is another matter entirely.

But Warner knows how to milk this PNM cow, so he can “mouth-off” big in front of the Kaiser; however, he won’t be honest in assessing the Jumpers and Wavers, who got home at the death, beating Bahrain 1-0 in the second round leg match after drawing 1-1 at the Hasely Crawford Stadium a few days earlier.

Those goals by Chris Birchall and Dennis Lawrence in the Bahrain showdown have caused many to take leave of their senses, and there is a lot of “nonsense” talk going around that the Jumpers and Wavers, first time qualifiers for the World Cup, can upset the apple cart and defeat the “Brits”.

Of course, this is usually followed by an alcohol-induced appraisal of Sweden, which rates the Swedes being of no consequence, and naturally Paraguay, qualifiers from the formidable South American Confederation, won’t be even on the same radar as Dwight Yorke and his merry band.

Warner, pandering to the gullibility of local fans and the weakness of his political opponents, said this week: “… when we beat England” that victory would be like winning the World Cup for him.

It’s great media.

But outside of a newspaper headline, it’s not worth the sheet of paper it was written on.

Let me tell you, sports fans, it isn’t going to happen!

Sorry to burst your bubble, but Warner and the other lunatics who are fantasising about the Jumpers and Wavers making any sort of impact on the field of play at the World Cup are in for a sobering dose of reality.

Leo and the boys have done well for a team from our neck of the woods, but we are going to get spanked. We are going to be taught a lesson in World Cup football.

Franz Beckenbauer was here earlier this week patronising us and nobody seems to have picked up on it.

The Kaiser thinks we can spring a surprise but the only surprise, I reckon, is how many goals will be going into the back of Kelvin Jack’s net.

Sure, Leo will try to have the team play an ultra-defensive game, hoping for a miracle on a swift counter attack but we are just too heavily outclassed.

England and Sweden are in the same league and Paraguay has progressed to the finals by absorbing the best of Argentina and Brazil.

Excuse me, Soca who?

If TnT was to score a World Cup goal … one goal, a deflection off a defender, anything that gets into the net, an own goal by any of our opponents, that will be like winning the World Cup to me.

Amazingly, while Warner clowns his way through the corridors of CONCACAF and FIFA, sounding like a buffoon whenever a testy question is put to him by those in the media with the courage to deliver it, the man is still capable of pulling off a political coup like Ato Boldon.

Gee whiz, how did Warner get Boldon to pick up the UNC torch and run with it?

Can you imagine what it would be like to have Boldon as our next Youth and Sports Minister?

Known as a straight shooter on most matters of national importance, Boldon is also articulate, confident and courageous.

The problem is, can the political landscape with these gigantic egos towering over all else handle someone like that?

There are interesting times ahead and it’s going to be a lot of fun seeing Ato run again.

Run, Ato, run!