The World's football governing body, FIFA, has suspended its Vice President Mr. Jack Warner, and president of the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), Mr. Mohamed Bin Hammam, after both men were summoned to an Ethics Committee hearing by FIFA's judicial arm. Prior to the hearing Mr. Jack Warner had responded in the media that days following the hearing there would be a "football tsunami."
Mr. Jack Warner has responded to his suspension in the media.
I attended the FIFA inquiry at 12 noon pursuant to a request made of me by FIFA to answer allegation made by Chuck Blazer, general secretary of CONCACAF. I have learned this evening via the media that I have been provisionally suspended by the FIFA Ethics Committee. This has come both as a shock and surprise to me. At the conclusion of the inquiry, I specifically requested that I be notified of any decision as I had learned via the media before attending the hearing that a decision would be handed down at 5 pm. Despite leaving my contact details, up to this point, I still have not received any notification from the FIFA.
At the hearing, I indicated that I submitted two written statements outlining my position. I expressed my disappointment with the way in which the inquiry was conducted as I was given less than 24 hours to submit a statement for consideration by the committee and, moreover, one of the five members of the committee is from Uruguay and did not have the value of a translated version of my or Mr bin Hammam's submission. This lack of translation services brings into question the issue of due process. In addition, FIFA did not have the courtesy to provide me with copies of the allegations before the hearing and it was only during the hearing were the allegations read to me.
At the hearing, among other things, I was asked about the special meeting with the CFU to hear Mr bin Hammam and whether such a meeting was normal. I indicated that President Blatter earlier this year had held a similar meeting in South Africa with 37 countries and no objections had been made of that to date. In fact, this has been the practice of FIFA in holding meetings with member countries before elections. I denied the allegations that I made statements at the CFU meeting about gifts being given by Mr bin Hammam. I also indicated that at the Miami CONCACAF congress on May 3, Mr Blatter made a gift of US$1 million to CONCACAF to spend as it deems fit.
This annoyed president Michel Platini who was present and he approached secretary general Jerome Valcke complaining that Mr Blatter had no permission from the Finance Committee to make this gift to which Jerome replied that he will find the money for Mr Blatter. I also indicated at the CFU meeting held in Trinidad on May 10 which was requested by Mr bin Hammam, FIFA through Mr Blatter organised gifts of laptops and projectors to all members of the Caribbean and no objections have been made today of this to date. In my statement, I attached letters from 13 federations whose members attended the CFU meeting where the allegations of gifts were made.
These statements from the 13 members denied the allegations that have been made against me and any participation of these individuals in the act complained of. While with regard to the allegation of payment only one statement was submitted by Collins & Collins. On May 18, when I realised that the political battle between Blatter and bin Hammam was getting out of hand, I wrote secretary general Valcke, telling him, among other things, that the outcome of the elections may cause some fracture in the Arab world which we can ill-afford now and that I will like to ask bin Hammam to withdraw from the race. To which Jerome replied to me and I quote:
"For MBH, I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB. Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC. I have a bet since day one, he will withdraw but on June 1 after his ten-minute speech. By doing so he can say he push Blatter to make new commitments, bla, bla bla, and get out under applause. Before means he is a looser. So...He will get some votes. Less than 60 today after CAF support. It will be the "coup de grace" if you would officially send a message as the CONCACAF president by saying CONCACAF supports unanimously. So I am not giving you an advice but just my feeling about what I think is the situation."
Despite the plea from SG Valcke, I refused to give any advice about how CONCACAF will be voting.
At no time during this matter was I ever contacted by Mr Blazer nor did he contact the executive or the Emergency Committee of the CONCACAF and it is informative for one to look at Mr Blazer's credibility by referring to the report of the NY District Court judge in the matter between Master Card and Visa in the FIFA matter of December 7, 2006. (Para 213) Mr Blazer's testimony was generally without credibility based on his attitude and demeanor on his evasive answers on cross-examination. (Para 214) Thus, for that reason and based on his evasive answers and his attitude and demeanour, Mr Blazer's testimony as the March 14, 2006, Marketing & TV AG Board meeting is rejected as fabricated. The complaints made in this matter are politically motivated against Mr bin Hammam and me and are designed, among other things, to cause serious prejudice and damage to both Mr bin Hammam and myself at one of the most critical times for the FIFA.
It is also shocking that at the close of an inquiry at around 5.47 pm when the decision was already delivered, new evidence in the form of a fax from the Puerto Rico FF appears making allegations which were treated as part of the evidence in this matter. This further demonstrates in the way the inquiry was conducted and the prejudice against me. The decision to suspend me is an abuse of the process and achieves no real purpose as stated in the decision and again demonstrates the bias of this inquiry.
I intend to say a lot more on this matter shortly. In the meantime, I will vigorously defend my reputation as well as the reputation of the rest of the Caribbean members.
Sgd Jack Warner