FIFA Vice Chairman Jack Warner ended his near 30-year association with soccer’s governing body today, resigning from all his posts in the sport before the conclusion of an inquiry into bribery allegations against him.
Warner, 68, is stepping down immediately, he told the Zurich-based organization in a letter. As well as his FIFA role, Warner headed regional soccer body Concacaf and the Caribbean Football Union.
FIFA, which confirmed his resignation in a statement today, said his decision means a probe into Warner’s conduct amid bribery allegations linked to FIFA’s presidential election is over.
Warner, a member of parliament in Trinidad and Tobago, said he’s quitting soccer to put the interests of his country first. He pledged to help FIFA’s wider corruption investigation, which includes the conduct of former FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed Bin Hammam.
“I reaffirm my offer of cooperation with the FIFA ethics committee in the resolution of the ongoing investigations into alleged irregularities pertaining to the recent visit of Mohamed Bin Hammam to Port of Spain to meet with CFU delegates,,” Warner said in the letter. “I have arrived at this decision in order to spare FIFA, Concacaf and, in particular, the CFU and its membership, further acrimony and divisiveness arising from this and related issues.”
Bundles of Cash
Several members of FIFA’s executive body have been accused of corruption. Warner and Bin Hammam, the head of soccer in Asia, have been suspended while former FBI Director Louis Freeh investigates claims that $40,000 payments were offered to Caribbean soccer officials to choose Bin Hammam over incumbent FIFA President Sepp Blatter in an election this month. Bin Hammam quit the race hours before being suspended. He and Warner deny the bribery claims. Blatter was re-elected unopposed.
“FIFA regrets the turn of events that have led to Mr. Warner’s decision,” FIFA’s statement said. “His resignation has been accepted by football’s world body and his achievements for Caribbean football in particular and the Concacaf confederation are acknowledged and appreciated.”
Warner said in an interview he’d “lost the enthusiasm to continue” in soccer because some FIFA officials “have sought to undermine me in ways that are unimaginable.”
The CFU, some of whose members are alleged to have accepted the bundles of cash, has agreed to meet with Freeh in the Bahamas after earlier refusing to see officials in Miami. Representatives from Suriname and Puerto Rico have told investigators they received cash.
Warner, who’s also minister of works and transport in his native Trinidad, had been on FIFA’s executive committee since 1983. He was elected head of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, or Concacaf, seven years later.
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