By Shaun Fuentes
FIFA’s loss will be Trinidad and Tobago’s gain. That was the sentiment expressed by now former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner in his native Trinidad on Thursday mere days after he resigned from all his positions with the World Governing body for football.
Warner, who is also the Minister of Works and Transport in the Trinidad and Tobago Government took a decision to accept only TT$ 1 from his salary of TT$38,000 back in June 2010 following the victory by the People’s Partnership in his country’s general selections. And on Sunday he promised to maintain that and spoke out against those calling for him to be removed from Cabinet.
“There comes a time when you have to move on and so you must never get too attached to anything in life. I did not plan to die in FIFA. And my detractors will continue to call for my resignation from Government but I will not bother will all the foolishness going on around me. They are irrelevant to me. FIFA’s loss will be this country’s gain. Nothing has changed. I will continue to take my one dollar salary,” Warner said on Sunday.
Former Prime Minister of the Republic Patrick Manning was the latest member of the Opposition Party – the People’s National Movement calling for Warner to quit or for Prime Minister Kamla Persad Bissessar to terminate Warner’s post.
“Wake up Madam. Do your duty. Fire Jack Warner forthwith,” Manning said in a statement. His media release followed revelations about Warner from a FIFA Ethics Committee report and British newspapers on Warner’s pension.
“New revelations deepen the rot and point to the nature of the individual. Firstly, though he continues unconvincingly to protest his innocence, the Ethics Committee report has now stripped him bare, saying there is ‘comprehensive, convincing and overwhelming proof’ that bribes were paid in Port-of-Spain and Warner had facilitated this,” Manning stated.
The 68-year-old Warner though has received wavering of support from his constituency members as well as other officials of the Caribbean Football Union as well as his cabinet colleagues
In a statement on Wednesday Warner promised to rise above his current crisis and hit out at a report that was circulating that was claimed to be one leaked by the FIFA Ethics Committee.
“It is instructive to note that the investigation into these allegations is still ongoing and therefore any suggestion that the report being circulated is the final conclusion of the FIFA Ethics Committee is both misleading and false. Everyone must therefore be well aware that this document is not the Ethics Committee Final Report,” Warner stated.
The former Caribbean Football Union President added: “In accordance with due process, the Secretariat of the FIFA Ethics Committee dispatched four copies of the conclusions of the preliminary investigation into FIFA bid-rigging, which took place on the end of May, directly to me. I am advised that one copy was sent to me by fax (which copy I am yet to receive), one by courier, DHL, one to my lawyer, with the fourth, being sent to me in care of CONCACAF office in New York. The copies sent to me and my attorney could not possibly have been accessed by any scurrilous party bent on the malice manifestly intended in the anonymous leaks to the media in an investigation that is still ongoing.
“I can only therefore conclude that this development is part of an ongoing malicious agenda to destroy the cohesion which has made the Caribbean Football Union a factor to be reckoned with in FIFA affairs; and thus diminish CFU’s significance in various areas of FIFA decision making.
“Yesterday, in announcing myself determined resignation from the positions I held in world football, FIFA confirmed that its Ethics Committee procedures of which I was a subject had been discontinued. In its statement, FIFA took pains to emphasize that the presumption of my innocence is maintained. It is now evident that there are those in a section of the FIFA fraternity who are not only pathologically mendacious, but in the face of FIFA’s stated position and its voluntary recognition of my contribution to world football and by definition to FIFA, will stop at no length to destroy my legacy and destabilize the Caribbean region whose interests I have always vigorously advocated.”
Warner said despite all, he will not allow his legacy to be destroyed.
“Despite the attacks of division neither the Caribbean nor I will allow all that we stand for to be destroyed. I expect that these vicious attacks will continue but I will confront them head on every time they arise. Let me once again reiterate for the sake of those with hidden agendas; I, Jack Warner did not partake in the distribution of any cash gifts to my members. I hope for the good of the game, good sense will prevail or at least I will continue to live in hope,” he concluded.
The Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation President Oliver Camps has said that an Executive Committee meeting will be held in July to discuss the Federation’s steps in light of Warner’s resignation from FIFA. Warner has been a longstanding financier and supporter of the Federation for which he once served as General Secretary up until 1990 when he was first appointed President of CONCACAF following strong influence from whistleblower Chuck Blazer.
Several of the Television and Radio Stations in Trinidad and other parts of the Caribbean have been hosting programs discussing “Life after Jack Warner.”