Trinidad and Tobago Minister of National Security Jack Warner said he feels vindicated after the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) annulled the FIFA-imposed lifetime ban on former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hamman.
Warner told a press conference last week at the Ministry of National Security, Port of Spain “I waited a little more than a year for this day and now I feel, not only a sense relieved, but I feel comforted, adding that a few friends, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, never lost faith in him during the difficult time.
Warner said if he had not resigned as FIFA vice-president in June last year, he too would have been found not guilty by the CAS. “But I was not prepared to go through this charade,” he said.
Last June, both Warner and Bin Hamman were suspended from FIFA after reports that several Caribbean Union Football (CFU) officials were offered bribes of US$40,000 during a meeting at the Hyatt regency hotel in Port of Spain last May.
Warner and Bin Hammam (who had challenged Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency) were accused of giving bribes to delegates of the CFU.
No action was taken against Warner as he resigned his executive position while a lifetime ban was imposed against Bin Hammam.
The three-man CAS panel, which included British QC Phillippe Sands, emphasized only that it was “case not proven,” because the evidence compiled following FIFA’s own investigation, was insufficient to prove Bin Hammam provided the suitcase of dollar bills.
The CAS judgment found by a 2-1 majority, damagingly for Bin Hammam: “it is more likely than not that Mr. Bin Hammam was the source of the monies… and that his conduct… may not have complied with the highest ethical standards that should govern the world of football and other sports.”
CAS found, though, that the investigation carried out by FIFA into the allegation that the US$40,000 payments came from Bin Hammam and were bribes to buy the CFU delegates “votes’ was not complete or comprehensive enough.”