Football’s shame game

Jack Warner (left) and Mohamed Bin Hammam Photo: AP

Over the past several weeks the international sports community has had to contend with the issues that have emerged with the international governing body for the sport of football.
The allegations came from FIFA insider, Chuck Blazer, General Secretary of the CONCACAF, with startling revelation of possible corruption within the latter organisation. Reports indicated that Blazer was armed with affidavits in support of his claim. Blazer’s claim was that he had evidence that at a meeting of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) in Trinidad, Bin Hammam of Qatar and Warner were involved in offering affiliates $40,000 USD to use as they deem fit, in return for their votes at the FIFA elections scheduled for 1 June 2011, for the Qatari official.

Paul Kelso, Chief Sports Reporter of Telegraph Sport revealed the following from a dossier:
The report alleges up to 25 Caribbean Football Union (CFU) officials were each offered envelopes containing $40,000 (£24,000) in cash, split into four $10,000 “stacks” of $100 bills, to persuade them to vote for Bin Hammam in this week’s Fifa presidential election.
The alleged offers were made in one-to-one meetings following a special summit of the CFU, arranged by Warner to allow Bin Hammam to present his election manifesto in Trinidad earlier this month.
Seven whistle-blowers have told investigators the cash was presented as a “gift”, and that they were told “not to tell anyone about the cash, not to discuss the cash with the others and not to show anyone the money”.
They claim they were initially told the money was a gift from the CFU, but the following day Warner told them the money was in fact from Bin Hammam, and that he had advised the Qatari to make “gifts” in cash.
But there is more..
Apart from the initial action undertaken by the Bahamas football body’s leadership we have been told that Suriname moved swiftly to distance themselves from the action in Trinidad.
A Caribbean football official has acknowledged getting US$40,000 in cash at a meeting that’s being investigated in a FIFA bribery scandal.
Suriname federation president Louis Giskus says he received an envelope containing four piles of US$100 bills at a Caribbean Football Union conference in Trinidad where members met then FIFA presidential candidate Mohamed bin Hammam.
Giskus tells The Associated Press he reported the cash gift to FIFA’s ethics committee after it suspended bin Hammam and FIFA’s Trinidadian vice president Jack Warner pending a full inquiry.
Giskus says Suriname’s “reputation is worth more than US$40,000.”
He’s helping a FIFA team that includes former FBI agents investigate the alleged bribery. [10 June 2011 PARAMARIBO, Suriname (AP) ]
There has been much concern here that the local governing body has been rather silent for some time before the General Secretary, Ian Hypolite, responded to media questions indicating that he was unaware of anyone from St Vincent and the Grenadines having been offered or being in receipt of monies as per the current allegations before FIFA.
FIFA action
FIFA is one of the world’s leading sports organizations and one could readily understand why it was only too anxious to be perceived by the international community as acting quickly and decisively in the matter of what transpired at the CFU meeting in Trinidad.
FIFA’s leadership must have been mindful of the horrific experience of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) several years earlier and of the fact that across the globe many remain suspicious of its own operations.
The FIFA decision to call Bin Hammam and Warner before the Ethics Committee, and even Blatter, may well have been consistent with its desire to look good in the eyes of the international community. However, Warner seemed so sure of himself that in advance of the meeting with the Ethics body he talked of the ‘football tsunami’. One can only assume that he thought that the organization was like CFU or CONCACAF under his leadership.
Following the meeting we heard references being made to the Ethics body being a ‘kangaroo court’. One wonders how long it took for such a deduction to be made in respect of the analysis of the organization.
Certainly one would have expected that given Warner’s longstanding membership of the FIFA executive he. Of all people, would have defended its institutions, including the Ethics body.