Ex-FIFA Official Warner Says Cash Payments Part of Soccer’s Culture

Jack Warner, former FIFA vice president, comments on why he quit soccer’s governing body after almost 30 years. He resigned amid a FIFA investigation into his conduct by former FBI Director Louis Freeh. Warner and Mohamed Bin Hammam, the head of soccer in Asia, were alleged to have attempted to bribe officials to vote for Bin Hammam over FIFA’s incumbent president, Sepp Blatter. They deny the allegations.

Warner, who’s also minister of Works and Transport in Trinidad and Tobago, was speaking in a telephone interview today.

On FIFA ‘gift’ culture:

“Payments throughout the Concacaf and the regions and so on over the last 30 years have been done for all kinds of things. But I’m not saying I have seen Bin Hammam make payments at this meeting. If he did, it’s not unusual for such things to happen and gifts have been around throughout the history of FIFA. What’s happening now for me is hypocrisy at the highest level.”

On conflict with regional soccer body Concacaf’s U.S. general secretary Chuck Blazer:

“Chuck Blazer accused me of not working hard enough for the U.S. to win the World Cup bidding. I dismissed what he said to me as nonsense because I did what needed to be done.”

On FIFA President Sepp Blatter:

“At the end of the day I don’t want to be seen to be vengeful. I am saying over time history will judge Mr. Blatter. I have no more to say than that.”

On the World Cup 2018 and 2022 voting:

England has never stopped complaining, nor has the U.S. ever stopped conspiring. England and the U.S. have never stopped because they believe they have some kind of divine right to host a World Cup. In this case they refused to look to see what the problem is. How can you be England and not have a single European person voting for you? That’s a question they need to be asking themselves. And the U.S. believed because it’s the U.S. they also have an automatic right. They don’t. Nobody has a God-given right to host the World cup.”

On the effect of British Broadcasting Corp. allegations on England’s 2018 vote:

“The BBC called everybody extorters and bandits and so on. I felt insulted. I did not believe I should vote for England anymore because I felt insulted. That was the decision of many other members of the executive. England could have easily got nine or 10 votes. They may not have won but they wouldn’t have been embarrassed. The BBC program’s insult to the members was in my view the last straw.”

On his legacy:

“My years in football are clear. My achievements are clear. Nobody could change that or write those things off. There’s no one who could undo my achievements. Look back on Concacaf over the last 20 years and see whether I have achieved or not. History will record me either as an achiever or an underachiever. I don’t need to go on a parapet and trumpet my achievements.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Tariq Panja in the London newsroom on at tpanja@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Elser at celser@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.