Football scandals continue to dog Warner
PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Monday April 11, 2011 – Minister of Works and Transport Jack Warner continues to find his name tarnished in the world of football.
Reports out of London are that the former chairman and deputy chairman of England's failed 2018 World Cup bid have told The Times newspaper that they refused a request from Warner, a FIFA Vice-President, to fund the construction of an education centre in Trinidad.
Lord Triesman and the bid's deputy chairman at the time Sir Dave Richards, say they met with Warner at a London hotel where the question was asked. Warner, who as president of the North and Central American confederation CONCACAF was seen as being in control of three votes on the FIFA executive committee, denies that the meeting ever took place.
Richards told the newspaper: "He (Warner) didn't say: 'Do this and I'll vote for you'. But it was always at the back of my mind. I did nod my head at Triesman as if to say 'let's not get into this'. It was an education project that he wanted to build, and he wanted someone else to fund it."
He added: "What he said was England should be building this kind of education block as a legacy throughout the world. He did say Trinidad and Tobago wanted one. He said it was an education set-up that he wanted for the children of Trinidad and Tobago.
"I never discussed this with the chairman of the FA again. I didn't want to get involved in that sort of thing. I don't know if the FA took it any further."
Warner dismissed the duo's claims when they were put to him by The Times but the newspaper adds that Warner further pressed England bid international president David Dein, bid CEO Andy Anson and bid ambassador David Ginola, when they visited Trinidad four months later for the Caribbean Football Union gala dinner.
It is reported that the day after the dinner, Warner took some of the England 2018 delegation to the village of Longdenville, where he showed them a dilapidated sports facility that local councillors had petitioned Warner to redevelop.
Plans for a TT$13million (US$2million) complex comprising a football field, cricket pitch, changing rooms, toilets and a swimming pool had been drawn up.
In the view of some local media, Warner asked the delegation, according to The Times, “to at least help get the project started with a financial donation". A microphone was handed to David Dein who said that he would see what he could do.
Funding for the facility by England 2018 was reported in the Trinidadian media as a fait accompli, but England bid sources have always maintained that nothing was ever promised or given.
Warner denied, with typical vigour, the allegations made in today’s paper, telling The Times that the meeting never took place.
"I don't know what you are talking about," he was quoted by AFP.
Last year the Sunday Times newspaper led an investigation which resulted in the suspension of FIFA executive committee members Amos Adamu and Reynald Temarii for three years and one year respectively, who were found guilty of breaching FIFA rules after they asked for cash from undercover reporters in return for their votes.
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