Warner claims 2018 World Cup bid demands were ‘nothing out of the ordinary’

Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner insists he asked for “nothing out of the ordinary” in the controversial race for the 2018 World Cup.

The decision to award Russia the 2018 World Cup and Qatar the 2022 edition in December 2010 has been dogged by allegations of bribery and corruption ever since.

FIFA’s long-awaited report into the bidding process was published by football’s world governing body on Tuesday.

In that report the England 2018 World Cup bid team was found to have “accommodated or at least attempted to satisfy the improper request” of FIFA executive committee members, including Warner.

The investigation was led by American lawyer Michael Garcia (Walter Bieri/AP)
The investigation was led by American lawyer Michael Garcia (Walter Bieri/AP)

Warner, who denies any wrongdoing, had been a long-standing member of the FIFA executive committee, but became embroiled in corruption allegations before being provisionally suspended by the FIFA ethics committee.

He was then subsequently arrested and charged in the United States of America as part of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s probe into money-laundering.

In 2015, Warner was banned from taking part in any football-related activity for life.

However, the 74-year-old – speaking in an email sent to The Times – claims there was nothing unusual about his requests and even suggested such behaviour would continue at FIFA.

Warner said: “For me the report is not even worth the paper it has been written on and of course not the whopping fee paid for it either. As it relates to me personally, I continue to sleep very soundly at nights for nothing in the report implicates me personally in any sleaze.

“Nothing in the report that I asked for was out of the ordinary in the Fifa for the last 100 years as far as bidding countries are concerned, and these new-found purists in world football today will do the same thing and more next time around.”

The investigation, led by American lawyer Michael Garcia, found that Warner had requested England 2018 to find his “adopted son” Richard Sebro, a man with no obvious football credentials, a job with Tottenham, then at Wembley, before moving to Aston Villa.

Other favours granted to Warner were the waiving of a £168,000 debt owed to the Football Association by the Jamaican Football Federation and the sponsorship of a £36,000 Caribbean Football Union gala dinner.

Undisclosed “favours and benefits” were also granted by the FA to a team Warner owned – Joe Public Football Club.

Warner added: “Everything I asked the FA for was for other persons or entities and never for my family or me. It is also informative to note that the FA was equally disposed to give.”

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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