Jack Warner, Unethical or Savvy?

Jack Warner is the President of Concacaf, Vice-President of FIFA, and one of the sketchiest businessmen you could encounter. His questionable ethics when it pertains to advancing his own self-interest and that of Trinidad & Tobago are legendary.

As a proud supporter of the Yanks, I get scared every time Jack Warner is influential in any big decision. His long known favoritism to the little island nations of the Caribbean is a major concern for US fans. FIFA elects its presidents with each country receiving one vote. Similarly, each continental federation elects its president in the same manner. Warner panders to the numerous island nations, and then ignores nations like Mexico and the US without much worry. Sepp Blatter is also dependent on Warner. Blatter uses Warner to rally all of the Island nations to vote for him when FIFA presidential elections come around. The Caribbean makes up a significant portion of the votes, and Blatter would not be elected without them. So what is so egregious about this? He is operating inside the rules. The far less publicized story is that Warner uses the leverage he has with Blatter to get away with scandals and corruption. Warner has been involved in multiple scandals, and has never received the proper punishment from FIFA.

Warner is a smart guy, but he tried to skirt the law too many times. Warner’s scandals all coincidentally have to do with Trinidad & Tobago, his home country. Trinidad & Tobago played a friendly against Scotland at Easter Road in 2004. Warner attended the game which is no cause for concern, but what he did after that is concerning. He went to John McBeth, the president of the SFA and asked for the proceeds of the game to be made out to him personally, not the FF of T&T. McBeth responded appropriately. “No, we don’t do that” he said, but Warner also approached other members of the SFA to have the proceeds made out to him directly. Warner was completely out of line, but no investigation ensued from FIFA.

There is also the very publicized World Cup ticket scandal, but there is a less publicized bonus scandal with the T&T players. After the World Cup, which saw T&T make an admirable showing, there were bonuses due to the players. Warner reported that the FA had collected TT $18.25 million, and spent TT $17.9 million. Warner promised the players half of the difference, and the players could not believe the FF had profited so little from going to The World Cup. 13 members of the team retired from international football in protest, until their rightful bonus was given to them. It was later revealed that the FF had amassed more than TT $173 million. The players were rightfully suspicious.

Warner also damaged the possibility of the US hosting the World Cup (something I am not happy about). Warner said that he would “battle to bring…the tournament to his region”, as he should. Warner controls 3 of the 24 votes when deciding where to host the World Cup, making him very powerful on this matter. He said in that same interview that he would favor Italy, or Spain if the World Cup were to go to Europe. He since changed those statements in hopes of securing a friendly against England for T&T. After he secured a useless friendly in T&T, he changed his mind about England hosting the World Cup. Warner said “The time has come” for England to host a World Cup. It was a big blow for the US’s bid to host in 2018. If your own regional president does not back you, the whole bid could be jeopardized.

What ever you may think of Warner, he was smart enough to get himself in a position where he cannot be reprimanded for his misconduct.

What do you guys think about Warner? Is he as unethical as the evidence points to? You get to decide for your self.

[Sources: BBC Sport, Sunday Herald, BBC Sport International, Gaurdian]

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