"Relieved" Warner welcomes US Supreme Court FIFA ruling

By Sports Desk February 06, 2024

Embattled former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, of Trinidad and Tobago, believes his “nightmare is over,” after the United States Supreme Court and a lower court threw out the convictions of two defendants linked to football corruption in September last year.

According to a January 27, 2024 New York Times article, these rulings “cast doubt on the legal basis for a host of prosecutions” surrounding those involved in scandals coming out of the December 2015 raids on FIFA officials in Zurich, Switzerland.

In June 2011, Warner, who was then provisionally suspended by the world football governing body for alleged corruption, resigned from all his international football posts. Warner was one of 14 top FIFA officials and corporate executives to be accused of corruption, fraud and money laundering while he was FIFA vice-president.

Warner was later indicted in 29 charges of corruption in the US in 2015. Extradition proceedings against him remain on hold.

In an interview with i95.5FM last Thursday, Warner said the court’s ruling to toss the convictions of an ex-21st Century Fox executive and sports marketing company on corruption charges in a case involving FIFA has him feeling relieved.

That September case, according to the New York Times, is one in which “the two defendants benefited from two recent Supreme Court rulings that had rejected federal prosecutors’ application of the law at play in the soccer cases and offered rare guidance on what is known as honest services fraud.

“The defendants in the soccer trial had been found to have engaged in bribery that deprived organizations outside the US of their employees’ honest services, which constituted fraud at the time. But the judge ruled that the court’s new guidance meant that those actions were no longer prohibited under American law.”

On this decision, Warner declared his agreement.

“I am in firm agreement with the US Supreme Court statement on the matter. I always knew the US were wrong to attack and destroy FIFA and destroy people’s lives just because they didn’t get a World Cup venue,” Warner said, referring to the US' failed 2022 World Cup bid.

That World Cup bid was won by Qatar, but several FIFA officials, including Warner, were accused of accepting bribes.

“It is utterly ridiculous for people to be imprisoned and to be charged for being a member of a private organisation as FIFA, and to be charged by the US government on what they did or did not do during their stay in FIFA,” Warner argued.

“I am feeling relieved. My life has been destroyed, my family’s life has been destroyed and I have spent tonnes of money on this matter. All I did was to tell FIFA that it is time to change the paradigm of giving the World Cup to Europe and South America. I said to them, ‘just go to the Middle East’.

“It is this that has caused me to be where I am today. The irony is that people in the Middle East, thanks to my efforts and others, Qatar (which hosted the World Cup in 2022) has produced one of the best World Cups this world has ever seen. So, I feel vindicated in a sense for what I have done, but the price that I have paid for that is overbearing,” he added.

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