Jack Warner dismisses Qatar payments ‘witch hunt’

Former Fifa vice-president describes FBI inquiry into payments made to him as ‘foolishness’

Former Fifa vice-president   Jack Warner. Photograph: Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

Former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner. Photograph: Luis Acosta/AFP/Getty Images

Tue, Mar 18, 2014, 18:06

Former Fifa vice-president Jack Warner has dismissed the latest allegations against him as “foolishness” and insists there is a “witch hunt” against the forthcoming 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

The FBI is investigating payments from a company owned by Qatari Mohamed Bin Hammam to Warner and his family, according to the Daily Telegraph. Both men left Fifa in disgrace following a 2011 corruption scandal. 2022 World Cup chiefs have reacted to the latest claims by insisting they adhered to all Fifa’s rules.

Warner himself, currently a politician in Trinidad, said: “I have no interest in joining in the foolishness that is now passing as news on Qatar and Jack Warner. Nor do I intend to join those who are on a witch hunt against the World Cup 2022 venue. And do consider this as my final comment on this matter.”

Warner and Bin Hammam’s Fifa careers ended in disgrace after they were caught up in a corruption scandal surrounding Bin Hammam’s campaign for the presidency of the world governing body in 2011.

Qatar’s 2022 World Cup organising committee said in a statement: “The 2022 bid committee strictly adhered to Fifa’s bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics.

“The supreme committee for delivery and legacy and the individuals involved in the 2022 bid committee are unaware of any allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals.”

But a Conservative MP who is campaigning for reform of the world governing body said Fifa should re-run the bid for the 2022 World Cup if an FBI investigation proves corrupt payments were made in connection with the vote.

Damian Collins, who used parliamentary privilege in 2011 to state allegations that two Fifa members had been paid to vote for Qatar 2022, said: “If the FBI investigation can prove that corrupt payments were made to Fifa executives in connection to the decision to award that country the World Cup, they should lose the right to host the tournament and the competition to stage World Cup 2022 should be re-run.

“These reports will only fuel concerns that the decision to award Qatar the World Cup was made for money reasons, not sporting ones, and that’s wrong.

“The report on the FBI investigation suggests a web of lies and corruption at the highest levels of Fifa. This is something Fifa has never fully investigated and if these allegations are proven, there has to be a top to bottom review of the roles and workings of members of Fifa’s executive committee.”

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