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Centre of Excellence not for sale, says Jack

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Chaguanas West MP Jack Warner has not filed any applications in the High Court to challenge or dispute world football governing body FIFA’s claims it provided over TT$103 million (US$16 million) to purchase the land and finance the construction of the Centre of Excellence, Macoya, for the benefit of regional soccer, says Attorney General Anand Ramlogan. He revealed that yesterday in a statement replying to Warner’s statements about the status of the centre.


 Warner spoke out after it was revealed that a caveat had been filed by attorneys JD Sellier on behalf of Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Football Associations (Concacaf) at the Registrar General Department on March 28, 2013, forbidding the registration of anyone as transferee or proprietor regarding the land, unless Concacaf consented.  


Claiming equitable interest in the land on which the centre was located, the caveat stated Concacaf provided funds in an amount exceedings (US)$16 million for acquisition of the land and construction of the Centre of Excellence for the purpose and in connection with its functions as a regional soccer confederation and with the intention that the lands and centre would be owned by Concacaf. However, Warner said the stories on the issue were “blatant and outright lies” which forced him to respond.


Warner said: “The Centre of Excellence is not for sale. The Centre of Excellence is not in financial trouble. Let me also state Concacaf doesn’t have any equitable interest in the Centre of Excellence and has no claims to ownership. “If anyone can come forward with an iota of evidence to support that the Centre of Excellence is being sold by Jack Warner to any consortium of businessmen, local or foreign, I will sell all my worldly possessions to that person for one dollar.”


But he didn’t deny the Concacaf caveats, saying: “However, if Concacaf indeed has filed a caveat against me all I can say is that both Concacaf and FIFA have unlimited funding and they can spend their money as they wish if they want to do that.” Warner alleged: “The contents of these articles I was told by some of my former Cabinet colleagues were discussed in Cabinet only last week Thursday.


“My sources even told me this is a personal attack against me by the Attorney General and advised I should not be shocked if he himself called Concacaf to pursue this action. That an Attorney General can influence the local media to such an extent is simply frightening.”


But AG Ramlogan said: “I wish to deny the baseless allegation the Government is influencing FIFA and Concacaf to take legal action against former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner. I also wish to dismiss the ridiculous suggestion that this matter was raised or discussed by the Cabinet last Thursday. “I have made the necessary inquiries and can confirm the three caveats referred to in newspapers are in fact authentic and bona fide.”


Ramlogan said he had no influence over FIFA and Concacaf “or else Mr Warner would not have bee” “The allegation that this is part of a wider plan to discredit Warner is nonsensical as the documents speak for themselves. Mr Warner does a fantastic job of discrediting himself on his own and does not require my help to do so.” Communication Minister Vasant Bharath said Cabinet had no interest in the Warner/Concacaf matter and it had not attracted Cabinet’s attention.


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