FIFA bans Jack Warner for life

Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner speaks at a political rally in Marabella, Trinidad and Tobago, Wednesday, June 3, 2015.
Associated Press / Anthony Harris

FIFA, soccer’s world governing body for the sport has banned its former vice-President Jack Warner for life last Tuesday for “many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official,” FIFA’s ethics committee said.

“In his position as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, as well as other moneymaking schemes,” it said.

The probe was opened in January this year.

But in an immediate response Warner said in a statement; “I left the FIFA in April 2010 and if in September 2015 (some four years and five months after) the FIFA wants to ban me for life even without a hearing then so be it. Given what is happening in Zurich with Sepp Blatter I guess that there is no such thing as a coincidence.”

Warner is currently under investigation by the U.S Justice Department over allegations of corruption and money laundering over the past two decades. He is currently fighting his extradition to the U.S from his native Trinidad and Tobago on charges of racketeering. He has denied all wrongdoing.

His case was adjourned to Dec. 2, 2015, but only for the court to fix a date for hearing of the extradition matter in 2016.

Warner was a former minister of National Security in the former Kamla Persad-Bissessar PP government in 2012. He also acted as prime minister on five occasions.

He resigned from the government in 2013 and formed his own Independent Liberal Party (ILP). Warner was MP for Chaguanas West constituency in Central Trinidad until the recent General Election when he contested the Chaguanas East seat and lost.

The soccer ban would not make any real practical difference since Warner, 72, does not hold an official position in soccer and was unlikely to return to any top positions in the soccer administration.

Warner was first investigated by the ethics committee over four years ago for allegedly distributing US$40,000 in cash to Caribbean soccer officials to support a bid for the FIFA presidency by his ally Mohamed bin Hamman of Qatar. He denied any wrongdoing. Hamman was banned for life by FIFA in 2012.

The internal investigation into warner was dropped without a verdict in 2011 after he resigned his post on the FIFA Executive Committee and as head of CONCACAF, the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

He was succeeded by Jeffrey Webb, of the Cayman Islands, who was also banned by FIFA.

An ethics committee has opened an investigation into FIFA’s President Sepp Blatter and the man who was the front-runner to succeed him, Michael Platini, the head of the European soccer confederation.

Blatter is under criminal investigation by Switzerland’s attorney general for possible misappropriation of funds and Platani has been questioned in the same matter. Neither man has been charged and both have denied any wrongdoing.

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