The “appears” is just a cautionary note because a statement purporting to emanate from Warner takes on ‘only’ Chuck Blazer rather than the full FIFA empire. Hence we have a small wave in the Caribbean rather than the long-awaited ‘FIFA tsunami.’
Also, oddly, the statement mis-spells “Carribean” which would have jarred, surely, with the former history teacher who no longer has football to distract him from his governmental duties in Trinidad. Still, this may be unfair; we all make mistakes.
This week has seen the premiere of what we might call “FIFA Wars II.” The original ‘show’ saw Warner quit all football and Asian confederation president Bin Hammam banned for life after allegations of bribery at a meeting of the Caribbean Football Union in May.
Blazer, in his role as a FIFA exco member and general secretary of CONCACAF, was the whistleblower. Now, the whistles are being blown in his face.
Bin Hammam, in signalling his formal submission to FIFA’s appeals committee, took a swipe at Blazer for his role in bringing the payments controversy to the notice of the Ethics Committee; two days later Blazer’s financial arrangements were the subject of a letter to FIFA from the pressure group ChangeFIFA; never two without three, of course, so 36 hours further on Warner joined the fray.
The ChangeFIFA letter largely concerned Blazer’s relationship with the United States taxman. This, one assumes, would be an issue beyond FIFA’s remit unless there were demonstrable grounds for suspicion that FIFA monies were being channelled illicitly in his direction.
Blazer insists that his CONCACAF remuneration – whatever its components and however transmitted – has been perfectly, properly and lawfully accounted.
Much more murky, however, is the issue of monies paid to Blazer through the CFU and first reported by Andrew Jennings who has delved deeply over the years into Warner’s political and financial oceans. Blazer said he had received a $250,000 repayment from Warner of a personal loan but that the money had been channelled, mistakenly, through the CFU.
Enter – or rather, re-enter – Warner.
He says he had read Blazer’s comments with “amazement,” that he had never been in receipt of a loan from Blazer but that he had authorised three payments over five years to Blazer totalling $750,000. The payments were in the sums of $295,000 of $205,000 and of $250,000.
Warner’s statement adds: “These were absolutely not in repayment for any loan. I have never had occasion to borrow money from Blazer. These monies were paid from the Carribean [sic] Football Union’s account with funds received from FIFA. I do not know why Blazer is pretending otherwise.”
Anyone else weighing in this week?