Ex-FIFA VP plans allegations against Blatter

October 20, 2011 - 11:38 PM

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (AP) — Disgraced former FIFA vice president Jack Warner has threatened to release a "tsunami" of corruption allegations against FIFA President Sepp Blatter.

Warner said Tuesday he will make the allegations after former presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam completes his appeal to the Court of Arbitration of Sport against a life ban for bribery.

"I have promised in the past a tsunami that would hit the FIFA, and indeed, it will come," Warner, a member of FIFA's ruling executive committee for 28 years, wrote in a letter to a newspaper in his native Trinidad.

A verdict in bin Hammam's appeal to CAS is not expected for several months.

The bribery scandal ended Warner's career in soccer when he resigned in June to avoid investigation of his role in arranging $40,000 payments for Caribbean voters during bin Hammam's election challenge to Blatter.

Warner's 1,300-word missive published by the Trinidad and Tobago Guardian stated that he and bin Hammam helped Blatter win "bitter" and "brutal" elections in 1998 and 2002.

He said his revelations would make FIFA's sponsors — which include Adidas, Coca-Cola, Sony and Visa — "cringe with painful surprise."

The threats were published three days before Blatter will announce details of an anti-corruption drive promised when FIFA member nations gave the 75-year-old Swiss official a final four-year term unopposed in June.

"Blatter now suddenly sees the need to reform the FIFA from within in his last term of office and in the sunset of his days," Warner wrote. "This is hypocritical to say the least for it is public knowledge that his four terms of office have been dogged with controversy and allegations of corruption to which he has never responded."

Warner said he and bin Hammam backed Blatter's first campaign in 1998 and to secure re-election four years later, when the governing body was mired in a financial scandal.

"We took (Blatter) on a worldwide crusade through Africa and Asia begging for support for him, and he won!"

Warner recalled his first meeting with Petrus Damaseb, who chaired the FIFA ethics panel that expelled bin Hammam in July.

He implied that Damaseb, then Namibia soccer federation president, accepted a payment in 1998. FIFA introduced an ethics code in 2006 that prohibited cash gifts.

"I will tell the world what gift Bin Hammam gave to (Damaseb) which was not a bribe then as he has ruled today," Warner wrote.

The bribery scandal was sparked when whistleblowers from four Caribbean countries reported that cash was offered during bin Hammam's May 10 visit to Trinidad ahead of the FIFA vote for president.

A video of Warner urging Caribbean soccer leaders to accept their cash gifts was leaked last week and published on the website of Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper.

Bin Hammam has claimed that Blatter and Chuck Blazer, the American FIFA executive committee member and Warner's longtime ally, orchestrated the bribery scandal because the Qatari official was poised to take the top job at FIFA.

Warner calculated that his 25 Caribbean Football Union members were key because Blatter was leading the race by just a handful of votes. Because of the bribery allegations, Bin Hammam ended his election bid days before the June vote.

"It would have been an interesting encounter until the region was sold out to Blazer and Blatter," Warner wrote.

The Trinidad and Tobago government minister also suggested FIFA was blighted by racial and religious discrimination, and that Michel Platini of France was being groomed to continue a European domination of world football.

"The conspiracy to protect the FIFA's throne for Michel Platini by getting rid of the Muslim Bin Hammam and the interruption of the successes of Jack Warner will be uncovered for all to see," he wrote.

Warner previously promised to unleash a "tsunami" in May after he was provisionally suspended by the ethics committee. He published an email in which FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke implied Qatar "bought" the 2022 World Cup hosting rights.

Valcke acknowledged writing the email to Warner, but said he was referring to the financial strength of Qatar's bid.