Jack Warner makes Clay Davis look like a saint

Panorama’s documentary on corruption in the great heights of the football elite has caused consternation and anguish amongst a few, who believe the potentially ill timed programme could damage the country’s World Cup bid.

The opposition to the show though wasn’t a moral one, where objectors felt the facts were being warped or misconstrued, but instead that it might mean that fans have to travel abroad to watch it and that it would hurt the wallet of individuals and the economy.

Whether you feel the Panorama doc was an unpatriotic act that’s going to kill the chances of the nations fans witnessing a World Cup, or the free press acting as they see fit and merely investigating the news, is another matter. What is irrefutable though is that FIFA have corrupt elements and the biggest one of the all is Jack Warner.

In comparison The Wire’s Clay Davis is a playground con-merchant, a ten-a-penny card shark or a door-to-door salesman. Jack Warner is the real deal.

Despite having a rap sheet as long as Mr Tickle’s arm, Warner has somehow remained in a position of authority within football for nearly 30 years, as he’s been on the FIFA Executive Committee since 1983, and he’s been the CONCACAF President since 1990.

Panorama’s investigation was really just gently poking the surface of his hush-hush deals that he seems to have been involving himself in.

Warner has repeatedly been accused of corruption, twice by Panorama who on both occasions accused him of taking advantage of his position for financial gain. FIFA’s auditors, Ernst & Young, estimated that his family made a profit of at least $1 million from reselling 2006 World Cup tickets that Warner had ordered, according to the BBC’s documentary The Beautiful Bung.

Minutes of FIFA’s executive committee indicate that a fine of almost $1 million, equal to the expected profiteering, was imposed on the family. Despite numerous reminders from FIFA, the Daily Mail has alleged that only $250,000 has been paid.

This though didn’t stop him trying the trick again, as Panorama says it has seen e-mails and an invoice which show Mr Warner was involved in the procurement of $84,000 worth of 2010 World Cup tickets.

The e-mail trail suggests the tickets were destined for the black market but the planned deal, including 38 tickets for the final in Johannesburg, collapsed because the touts were not prepared to pay the hefty asking price.

Robbie Earle must be fuming that Warner repeatedly gets away with this. All he got was a big sack and a few European lagers.

Further evidence of Warner’s shady dealings emerged after the 2006 World Cup when he was working as a special advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation.

He allegedly brokered a deal between the country’s football federation and the players on Trinidad and Tobago’s team to share the proceeds from their participation in the competition. After the tournament the Federation declared revenue of TT$18.25 million, costs of TT$17.9 million and offered the players a split of the comparatively derisory amount of TT$5,644.08 per player.

The players rejected this figure, disputing the Federation’s numbers and seemingly with the good reason, as the amount of expenses according to currency converter xe.com is equal to £1,823,910. That’s a lot of caviar and prawn sandwiches.

The Trinidad and Tobago government later revealed that the Federation received in excess of TT$173 million for their part in the tournament in Germany.

The matter was heard by the UK Sports Dispute Resolution Panel. Arbitrator Ian Mill QC heard the case and ruled that that the players were entitled to 50% of the FIFA World Cup participation money and the commercial revenues gained from Trinidad and Tobago’s qualification, as well as half the net income from World Cup warm-up matches.

However, according to the Trinidad Express, the players’ lawyer, Michael Townley, said “at the moment, the players have not received a single cent” and he alleged that the nations football federation defaulted on its payment to the arbitration body.

Add to this asking the Scottish Football Association President John McBeth for a cheque to be made out to him personally and not the FA of Trinidad and Tobago, after they played Scotland in a friendly in 2004, according to the Sunday Herald and you have what at best can be described as a chequred association with the boundaries of the law.

Seemingly though his authority is untouchable, as he has remained in one of the sports bug chairs since 1983 and is even the Minister of Works and Transport of Trinidad and Tobago.

Shhhhiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiitttttttttttttttttttttttt. Clay Davis will surely be looking on with crooked admiration.

Tags: England, Jack Warner

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