PtG Article 07.04.2006

FIFA lets off Jack Warner

FIFA vice-president Jack Warner did not receive a punishment from FIFA's Executive Committee when it met to discuss what should happen to Warner after he had been found guilty of a conflict of interest by FIFA's Committee for Ethics and Fair Play back in February.

Instead Sepp Blatter and the committee decided to close the matter because Jack Warner has sold his shares in the travel agency that was at the core of the problem. 

The case began when the Trinidad and Tobago Express exposed that Jack Warner's travel agency, Simpaul Travel Service, had obtained exclusive rights to sell tickets to the World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago that had qualified for the tournament for the first time.

The case was discussed by FIFA's Committee for Ethics and Fair Play in February and the committee found that Warner was guilty of a conflict of interest because he was simultaneously a special advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation who sold the rights to ticket sales to Simpauls Travel Agency and one of the owners of Simpaul's.

"The matter had to be closed"

Since then Warner has removed his name as well as that of his wife, Maureen, and sons Daryan and Drayl, from the directorship of Simpaul's Travel Service at the Legal Affairs Ministry in Trinidad and Tobago.

That was enough for FIFA to let him off the hook.

"There were lengthy discussions in the Executive Committee meeting with interventions from practically every memeber but the committee was of the opinion that because Jack Warner has sold his shares in the company then there is no more a conflicting situation. It was decided that the matter had to be closed," FIFA president Sepp Blatter told a news conference according to Reuters.

Back in Trinidad and Tobago, Jack Warner has been marking FIFA's decision by taking out advertisements in the newspapers to celebrate that he had been cleared by the FIFA Ethics and Fairplay Committee. A move that has angered the Trinidad and Tobago Express enough to set the record straight in an editorial:

"The fact that the world's football governing body forced him to sell his shares and those of his immediate family members is a powerful demonstration that there was indeed a conflict of interest in this matter.

It is true, however, that FIFA did not apply the full brunt of the law as laid down by its Ethics and Fairplay Committee against Mr. Warner who is one of the organisation's highest ranking officials. But with a clear case of violation of the rules which it has established, the world football body has exhibited in this case a classic example of cronyism at the highest level."