FIFA backing Warner after referral to ethics committee by Dominica

21.01.2008

By Michael Herborn
FIFA are standing by their Vice-President Jack Warner, after he was referred to the FIFA Ethics Committee by the Dominican Football Association (DFA). Warner, who is also head of CONCACAF, the governing body of North, Central American and Caribbean football is accused of “appalling conduct, and flagrant abuse of power” by the DFA after declaring to the association his intent to reshape Dominica’s football hierarchy.

The complaint by the DFA relates to a recent visit to Dominica by Warner with FIFA Development Officer, Harold Taylor. The DFA allege that Warner, on ten hours notice, arrived in Dominica on January 15 and announced to the DFA that he was going to recommend to FIFA that “the tenure of the Executive be terminated, over a seven day transition period, and to appoint a ‘Normalization Committee’ in its place, to prepare for elections.”

The Normalization Committee suggested by Warner would include a former member of the DFA who was reported for misappropriation of the association’s assets to Harold Taylor when he visited Dominica as part of FIFA/CONCACAF delegation in July 2007.

The DFA believes that these actions are illegal, “being contrary to the provisions of the Constitution of the Dominica Football Association as well as to statutes of CONCACAF and FIFA”.

The DFA have now referred the case to Lord Sebastian Coe, front man for the London 2012 Olympics and chair of the FIFA ethics committee. The committee, responsible for maintaining the FIFA Code of Ethics adopted by FIFA in 2006, which replaced the 2004 document, is charged with safeguarding “the integrity and reputation of football worldwide.”

FIFA backing Warner
Warner can however count on the backing of FIFA. The governing body for football state that a FIFA delegation visited Dominica in July 2007 after the DFA’s annual conference was suspended “due to an impasse concerning constitutional and procedural matters,” reports the Reuters news agency. FIFA state that the normalization committee alluded to by the DFA was then suggested in a later meeting in November 2007, pending new elections at the DFA.

“As a result of the continuation of the various impasses at the DFA, another delegation travelled to the DFA... on 15 January 2008, this time consisting of FIFA Vice-President Jack Warner and (development officer) Harold Taylor,” the world football governing body added.

Speaking to the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation, Warner believes his actions were for the good of the game in the Caribbean.

"Dominica, this, of course, is the worst case, but throughout the Caribbean there are different levels of problems which we are now experiencing which possibly means that I should first have an apprenticeship before I had full membership.”

Referring to alleged financial difficulties within the DFA, Warner added that money given by FIFA as part of the Goal Development Programme, was not meant to replace government or corporate funding. Instead, “it was meant to supplement it, but because of the money given to these countries, governments have withdrawn their money, businesses have withdrawn their sponsorship, and expect FIFA to be the godfather of all these countries and those are the problems that worry me severely,” he said.

FIFA Ethics Code
The code, available here, stipulates in Article 3 that “Officials shall show commitment to an ethical attitude while fulfilling their task. They shall pledge to behave in a dignified manner. They shall behave and act with complete credibility and integrity.”

Article 7 states that “Only those persons who demonstrate a high degree of ethics and integrity and pledge to observe the provisions of this Code without reservation are eligible to serve as officials.”

Lord Coe and his colleagues on the ethics committee will have to decide whether Warner has breached these articles or others when investigating the complaint against him if FIFA permit the case to be heard.

If found guilty, Warner will be subject to censure by the FIFA Disciplinary Committee, who by the statues of the FIFA Disciplinary Code can issue anything from a warning, to a fine, to a ban on taking part in any football-related activity.

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