NEW YORK — May 28, 2015: Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner asked for and accepted bribes during the selection processes for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups in France and South Africa, according to allegations published yesterday.
The charge that the choice of host countries was tainted by corruption, was just a fraction of a slew of allegations aimed at some of football’s most influential decision-makers.
The Trinidadian’s name was on a list of nine current or former FIFA officials and five business executives who abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch said here.
Warner, 72, who protested his innocence on Facebook, had harnessed his power at the highest levels of football administration as far back as the early 1990s for personal gain, a US indictment said.
Part of the lengthy indictment reads: “Among other things, Warner began to solicit and accept bribes in connection with his official duties, including the selection of the host nation for the World Cups held in 1998 and 2010, which he participated in as a member of the FIFA executive committee.”
France hosted the 1998 World Cup, seeing off a bid from Morocco, and the 2010 tournament went to South Africa.
Lynch said that the process that saw the World Cup go to South Africa was mired in corruption.
“Around 2004, bidding began for the opportunity to host the 2010 World Cup, which was ultimately awarded to South Africa, the first time the tournament would be held on the African continent,” she told a news conference.
“But even for this historic event, FIFA executives and others corrupted the process by using bribes to influence the hosting decision.”
Warner, who left FIFA in 2011 after being suspended by an ethics committee looking into corruption, was also CONCACAF president and a special advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation. — AFP