PtG Article 14.10.2011

Former FIFA vice-president caught on tape talking about cash gifts

The British newspaper, The Telegraph, has published videos and a transcript of a speech given by former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner back in May in which he appears to urge FIFA officials from the Caribbean to accept cash gifts from Mohammad Bin Hammam, who challenged Joseph Blatter for the FIFA presidency earlier this year.

The recording of Warner's speech was made on 11 May, the day after the money is alleged to have been handed over to officials in individual brown envelopes, and it is being used as evidence in a FIFA hearing this week where 16 officials from the Caribbean Football Union stand accused of violating FIFA's code of ethics.

In the recording, Warner tells other members of the Caribbean Football Union that they must decide whether to accept the “gifts” of $40,000 each, and he urges them to vote for Bin Hammam rather than Sepp Blatter in the upcoming FIFA presidential elections.

Warner explains that it is important that it should not appear as if the gifts have come directly from Bin Hammam:

"I said to him if you bring cash, I don’t want you to give cash to anybody, but when you do you can give it to the CFU and the CFU will give it to its members. Because I don’t want [it] to even remotely appear that anyone has any obligation to vote for you because of what gifts you have given them, and he fully accepted that.”

Later, Warner issues a direct challenge to anyone tempted to turn down the bribe on ethical grounds.

“I know there are some people here who believe they are more pious than thou. If you are pious go to a church friends, but the fact is that our business is our business. If there is anybody here who has a conscience and wishes to send back the money I am willing to take the money and give it back to him at any moment.”

Warner: It is a conspiracy

The Telegraph does not explain how it has obtained the video with Jack Warner's speech but says it has been sent to all 16 officials who are being questioned by FIFA Ethic's Commission.

Jack Warner himself believes that the video has been leaked deliberately in an attempt to influence public opinion against what he calls "a conspiracy against the delegates of the Caribbean Football Union."

In an e-mail to the UK Press Association, he writes:

"The Caribbean delegates are currently in Zurich and are actively involved in disciplinary proceedings established by the FIFA so this leak is clearly subjudicious (sic) and contrary to the very principles of law and justice."

"Regretfully, this is what defines the FIFA; a perceived right to do all in its power, right or wrong, to defend its own."

Read the full story from The Telegraph which includes videos with an excerpt as well as the full address by Warner.

Read the full transcript of Jack Warner's address.