ZURICH, SWITZERLAND – Jack Warner, vice-president of the international football federation, Fifa, has resigned, of his own choice and effectively immediately, the Zurich-based organization announced late Monday 20 June. Warner has been active in Fifa and Caribbean football politics for nearly 30 years.
He has been under investigation as part of the web of corruption charges that has plagued Fifa in recent weeks. The group said, in a statement Monday, “As a consequence of Mr Warner’s self-determined resignation, all Ethics Committee procedures against him have been closed and the presumption of innocence is maintained.”
Warner will still be called as a witness in an ongoing bribery investigation, however.
The investigation remains closed as long as Warner stays out of international football. His resignation extends to his role as Concacaf, the Caribbean football confederation.
The Irish Examiner notes, curiously, that “Fifa have now ended the ethics committee investigation against Warner on the basis that under Swiss law they have no jurisdiction over people not in the organization,” although Fifa does not give this as an explanation.
Warner and Mohamed bin Hammam were accused of abusing their executive board positions and breaking Fifa ethics code by bribing officials from Caribbean nations who participated in the recent Fifa presidential election. Bin Hammam was suspended.
Warner reacted at the time by publishing an e-mail from the organization’s secretary general that suggested the Qatar World Cup votes were bought and he promised to reveal more “dark secrets”.
He will now focus, he says, on his work as chairman of the United National Congress, the major party in Trinidad and Tobago’s coalition government, where he is a cabinet member.
Sports media reactions have been mixed, with several suggesting that the truth will now never be known with the charges against Warner dropped. Fox Sports writes “That Warner effectively dodged his day in court will not surprise veteran Fifa-watchers. The 68-year-old confederation boss has often been connected to alleged World Cup ticket scams and financial misdeeds, but always emerged relatively unscathed.”
Sky News and the Guardian both ran a Press Association article that quotes from affidavits sent to Fifa’s Ethics Committee that make it clear “gifts” were discussed, offered and in some cases accepted, but without pointing a clear finger at anyone. Warner, after his resignation, made it clear in statements to the press that he blames US football official Chuck Blazer for “undermining” him.