Warner ‘sleeping well’ as US probes FIFA
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad (CMC):
Former FIFA vice-president Austin 'Jack' Warner said yesterday he is "sleeping well" and is under no pressure as the United States Justice Department announced that nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives have been indicted for racketeering conspiracy and corruption.
"I was aware that the US having lost the World Cup bid was so aggrieved and was going behind all those they feel had bid against them," Warner said on a television programme here yesterday.
"At the end of the day, if the US believes they want to get at Jack Warner, I am here in my home, I am here in my office. No problem, I don't have to run to them, they know what they have to do," Warner told television viewers, adding "I sleep very soundly and I am sleeping very soundly still."
Regarding the arrest in the United States, Warner, who resigned his position as FIFA vice-president in 2011, told the interviewer: "I hear just what you have heard and I am saying to you, I am sleeping soundly still."
Warner said he had last been to the United States a year ago, dismissing suggestions that he had not travelled to North America for many years in light of the US probe.
Earlier, US Attorney General Lorretta Lynch said the corruption by FIFA officials was "rampant, systemic and deep-rooted both abroad and here in the United States".
"It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.
"And it has profoundly harmed a multitude of victims, from the youth leagues and developing countries that should benefit from the revenue generated by the commercial rights these organisations hold, to the fans at home and throughout the world whose support for the game makes those rights valuable."
In addition to the US investigations, international media reports indicate that the Swiss prosecutors have launched a criminal case into the bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, to be held in Russia and Qatar, respectively.
FIFA said it plans to go ahead with elections for its next president on Friday.
Incumbent President Sepp Blatter is seeking a fifth term. He was not one of those arrested.
Prince Ali Bin al-Hussein of Jordan, who is Blatter's rival for the FIFA presidency, described the arrests as "a sad day for football".
Warner had resigned from FIFA after he was suspended amid allegations that the football supremo and former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam had offered US$40,000 to national associations of the Caribbean Football Union at a meeting in Trinidad on May 10 and 11, 2011 in return for their votes in the FIFA presidential election on June 1, 2011.