EX-Fifa boss vows to reveal secrets

Chuck Blazer.
Chuck Blazer.
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AN EX-Fifa boss has admitted bribes were paid to senior officials to vote for the 2010 and 1998 World Cups, as a former vice-president of football’s world governing body announced he would reveal “secrets” about the scandal.

Plea bargain details published by the US Department of Justice revealed Chuck Blazer admitted he and others took bribes totalling 10 million US dollars for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup and an undisclosed sum for Morocco’s unsuccessful bid to host the 1998 tournament.

Hours after the details were revealed Jack Warner, who was among 14 key figures charged with corruption by US authorities last week, said he had documents linking Fifa officials, including embattled outgoing president Sepp Blatter, to the 2010 election in Trinidad and Tobago.

Warner, who has been declared an ‘international wanted person’ by Interpol, made the allegations after paying for a political broadcast slot on TV in his native Trinidad.

He suggested his life was in danger and said: “I will no longer keep secrets for them who actively seek to destroy the country.”

He later told a rally of his Independent Liberal Party: “Not even death will stop the avalanche that is coming. The die is cast. There can be no turning back. Let the chips fall where they fall. Blatter knows why he fell. And if anyone else knows, I do.”

Meanwhile, Australian police said they are investigating corruption claims surrounding Warner and Australia’s failed bid for the 2022 World Cup.

The news came after Football Federation Australia chairman Frank Lowy defended his group’s payment of 500,000 Australian dollars to the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf), the regional football federation in North America.

Lowy claims the money was “misappropriated” by Warner, the then president of Concacaf.

Australia spent millions of pounds trying to clinch hosting rights for the 2022 World Cup, but received just one vote when Qatar secured the rights in December 2010.

The revelations come little more than 24 hours after Blatter finally announced he would be standing down as Fifa president.

Blazer, the former Concacaf general secretary and Fifa executive committee member, said in his testimony published on Wednesday night: “I and others on the Fifa executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.”

He was said to have travelled with Warner to Morocco in 1992 where they agreed to take a bribe to vote for the country for the 1998 World Cup, a tournament which France went on to host.

HIGH-FLIER BROUGHT DOWN BY SCANDAL

Jack Warner’s Fifa career ended in disgrace in 2011 after he was caught up in a corruption scandal.

He resigned as vice-president following allegations that he and fellow Fifa member Mohamed Bin Hammam gave or offered bribes to members of the Caribbean Football Union worth a total of one million US dollars.

Born Austin Warner in Rio Claro, Trinidad, in 1943, he became secretary of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation in 1973 and a member of the Trinidadian parliament in 1987.

In 1990 he was elected president of Concacaf, football’s governing body in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, and was appointed Fifa vice-president in 1997.

Warner has long been the subject of corruption allegations.

In 2006, after being instructed to investigate Warner by Fifa, Ernst & Young estimated that his family had made one million dollars from reselling 2006 World Cup tickets, and a fine of around that figure was imposed on him and his family.

He described England as an “irritant” in 2007, but apologised for the statement a year later when the Three Lions agreed a friendly against Trinidad & Tobago.

In 2011, the same year as Warner’s Fifa resignation, former Football Association chairman Lord Triesman alleged that he had asked for cash to build an education centre in Trinidad and to buy World Cup television rights for Haiti.

Meanwhile, the Concacaf integrity committee produced a report in 2013 which accused Warner and his former colleague Chuck Blazer of mismanagement and massive fraud.

It alleged that Warner concealed his ownership of the land on which Concacaf’s multimillion-dollar Joao Havalange Centre of Excellence was built, which made him the effective owner of the building.

After being linked to a number of corruption scandals, Warner was charged by US authorities last week in connection with “a 24-year scheme to enrich themselves through the corruption of international soccer”.

Warner, who is the subject of an Interpol “international wanted person” alert, now claims to have documents which link Fifa officials to the 2010 election in Trinidad and Tobago.

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The Yorkshire Post’s coverage of the Fifa scandal

� Charlotte Graham 
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