CONCACAF finances laid bare

23 May 2012 05:47

The full stunning picture of financial malpractice involving former football leaders in the Caribbean and north and central America has emerged.

A £15million centre of excellence in Trinidad funded by development cash secretly ended up in the ownership of disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.

The USA-based CONCACAF federation covering 40 countries also faces financial penalties after not making tax returns for a number of years, their legal adviser confirmed to a their annual congress taking place in Budapest.

Meanwhile, former CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer, the whistleblower who blew the lid on bribes last year, has himself been accused of overseeing financial irregularities and is suing the confederation for commissions - running into million of dollars - he says he is owed on TV and sponsorship contracts.

The revelations sparked fury from delegates - many of whom from Caribbean countries ended up being sanctioned by FIFA's ethics committee in the fall-out from the bribery scandal which saw Warner resign and Asian FIFA member Mohamed Bin Hammam banned for life.

CONCACAF's lawyer John Collins told the congress he had instructed lawyers in England and Trinidad to investigate the ownership of the Joao Havelange centre of excellence, built at a cost of 22.5m US dollars.

Collins said: "I received their report and it appears the centre of excellence was put in the name of two corporations owned by Mr Warner and his family.

"In 2007 a mortgage was placed on the property in the name of CONCACAF signed by Mr Warner and [ex-CONCACAF vice-president] Mr Lisle Austin without getting our approval."

Collins said CONCACAF should now take legal action to recover the centre from Warner.

In relation to the tax irregularities, Collins said no returns had been filed since at least 2007 and maybe before then. Blazer's contract with CONCACAF saw his paid commissions of 10% on all media and sponsorship deals to be paid to an offshore company of his called Sportvertising, based in the Cayman Islands.

Source: PA