Warner defends conduct

26 April 2013 12:17

Disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner claims he was personally given the money to build a £4milllion centre of excellence in Trinidad in return for helping Sepp Blatter's election as president of the sport's world governing body.

Warner has produced letters from Blatter's predecessor Joao Havelange confirming the 6million US dollar FIFA loan for the centre, built on land owned by Warner, had been converted into a grant.

In return Warner says he delivered the 30 votes needed for Blatter - at the time "the most hated FIFA official" in Warner's words - to beat Lennart Johansson for the FIFA presidency in 1998 and named the centre after Havelange.

Warner, who quit football last year following corruption allegations and this week resigned from the Trinidad government after an audit by the CONCACAF confederation raised questions about the centre of excellence, admits that he manipulated at least one vote by getting an official's girlfriend to stand in for an absent association president.

He said in a statement: "Blatter was Havelange's candidate to succeed him for the FIFA presidency. Blatter had been at this time the most hated FIFA official by both the European and African confederations and without my CONCACAF support at the FIFA elections, Blatter would never have seen the light of day as president of FIFA. I told Havelange that, through him, Blatter will get CONCACAF's total support."

Warner delivered 30 CONCACAF votes for Blatter in a block - and he beat Johansson by 111 votes to 80.

Warner added: "An interesting development at that Congress was that Haiti was absent and with Blatter's permission, I got Captain Horace Burrell's (of Jamaica) girlfriend to vote as the Haitian delegate by saying, "Oui!" when Haiti's name was called."

He also insists the centre of excellence was never a CONCACAF asset but had been "a gift for the Caribbean and Jack Warner".

"So there was no ambiguity," said Warner.

"There was no uncertainty. There was no secret in my dealings towards and with Dr Havelange and the Centre of Excellence. So the Centre of Excellence was built, first by a loan that was given to Jack Warner that was converted into a grant and by further assistance from Dr Havelange after whom I named the Centre."

Source: PA

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