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‘Blatter must go’

Published: 
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Now, Jack points the finger at football head...

Suspended FIFA vice president Jack Warner told journalists in Zurich that he blames the President of FIFA, the world football governing body, for the allegations made against him: “At the end of the day, Blatter has to be stopped.”  Warner reiterated that he is about to unleash a “tsunami” on the football world, telling journalists in Zurich that they had not seen anything yet concerning the revelations that Qatar had “bought” the 2022 World Cup. Holding up the e-mail which quoted FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke on the issue of Qatar 2022, Warner said: “You don't have to believe me, you don't have to like me, nobody has to eat with me, drink with me or sleep with me but, Jesus Christ, take the truth when you see it.” These arguments may now begin to damage the organisation's commercial interests as, earlier on Monday, two of FIFA's largest sponsors - Coca-Cola and Adidas - expressed concern at the widely publicised in-fighting. "The current allegations being raised are distressing and bad for the sport," a Coca-Cola spokesperson told the BBC. "We have every expectation that FIFA will resolve this situation in an expedient and thorough manner."

An Adidas spokesman said: "The negative tenor of the public debate around FIFA at the moment is neither good for football nor for Fifa and its partners." FIFA executive committee members Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner have been suspended pending a full investigation into allegations that they arranged for US$1 million in bribes to be offered to 25 Caribbean associations at a special meeting in Trinidad earlier this month. Meanwhile, the Telegraph newspaper reported last night that a football official from a Caricom country had taken a camera-phone photograph of piles of money of four US$10,000 stacks contained in brown envelopes. The photograph was initially taken by the official who called another official to ask him what to do, the Telegraph reported. The other official ordered him to take the picture and return the cash, and then contacted CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer to warn him of the bribery attempt.

“In his witness statement, which forms part of the evidence filed to FIFA, the official was one of the first to go up to the room where he was handed a large brown envelope. When he opened it ‘stacks of US $100 notes fell out and on to the table. I was stunned to see this cash,’ he said in an affidavit. “He texted Sealey saying “a lot of the boys taking the cash. This is sad given the breaking news on the TV, CNN ... I’m truly surprised it’s happening at this conference” [sic].  Meanwhile, Lisle Austin, a 74-year-old Barbadian national, was yesterday elevated as acting President of the  Confederation of North, Central and Caribbean Association of Football (Concacaf), according to a statement sent to local media houses by an employee of suspended Fifa vice president, Jack Warner. Austin’s substantive position is vice president, a position he has held since 1992. Austin replaces Concacaf president Jack Warner, who was temporarily suspended by FIFA’s Ethics Committee on Sunday after a preliminary enquiry into charges of bribery levelled against him and Fifa executive committee member, Mohammed bin Hammam.

Checks with the Concacaf office in New York revealed that the governing body for football in the Caribbean, Central America and North America had not commented or sent out a release at any time regarding this matter. And the first directive issued by Austin on assuming office on Monday was for Concacaf to cease, immediately, all contractual arrangements with the law firm Collins and Collins.
 Austin has called on Concacaf General Secretary Chuck Blazer to explain within 48 hours, what authority he had to unilaterally hire the firm to investigate allegations of misconduct by Concacaf members.
 Austin made the request via a letter to Blazer’s hotel in Zurich. Austin also called on Blazer to explain “the procedure and rationale behind decisions taken today as it relates to the attendance of tomorrow’s (today’s) Fifa Congress.

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