May 29, 2011
By ESPNsoccernet staff
FIFA vice-presidents Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner have expressed their anger at the temporary suspensions handed to them on Sunday by the ethics committee of world football’s governing body.
Mohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner
PA PhotosMohamed Bin Hammam and Jack Warner have been temporarily suspended by FIFA
AFC chief Bin Hammam and CONCACAF president Warner were both suspended from all football-related activity pending the outcome of a full inquiry into accusations that they offered financial incentives to members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).
A furious Warner has claimed that he found out about the decision to ban him through the media and hit back at FIFA for not providing him with a copy of the allegations before the ethics committee hearing on Sunday.
• Bin Hammam’s defence
Warner also went on to defend himself against allegations he handed over bundles of cash – each of 40,000 US dollars – to Caribbean football officials, insisting that FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who escaped any action, had previously offered up monetary gifts himself.
«I have learned this evening via the media that I have been provisionally suspended by the FIFA Ethics Committee. This has come both as a shock and surprise to me,» a statement from Warner read.
«…I also indicated that at the Miami CONCACAF Congress on May 3rd, Mr. Blatter made a gift of one million USD to CONCACAF to spend as it deems fit. This annoyed President Michel Platini who was present and he approached Secretary General Jerome Valcke complaining that Mr Blatter had no permission from the Finance Committee to make this gift to which Jerome replied that he will find the money for Mr Blatter.
«I also indicated at the CFU meeting held in Trinidad on May 10 which was requested by Mr. Bin Hammam, FIFA through Mr. Blatter organised gifts of laptops and projectors to all members of the Caribbean and no objections have been made today of this to date. In my statement I attached letters from thirteen Federations whose members attended the CFU Meeting where the allegations of gifts were made.
«These statements from the 13 members denied the allegations that have been made against me and any participation of these individuals in the act complained of. While with regard to the allegation of payment only one statement was submitted by Collins & Collins.
Warner went on to reveal the contents of a message he claims sent to him by FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke less than two weeks ago, in which the Frenchman suggests that Bin Hammam – who pulled out of the presidential election before Sunday’s inquiry – wanted to «buy FIFA as they [Qatar] bought the WC.»
Warner’s statement continued: «On May 18 when I realised that the political battle between Blatter and Bin Hammam was getting out of hand I wrote Secretary General Valcke telling him, among other things, that the outcome of the elections may cause some fracture in the Arab world which we can ill afford now and that I will like to ask Bin Hammam to withdraw from the race. To which Jerome replied to me and I quote :
«‘For MBH [Bin Hammam], I never understood why he was running. If really he thought he had a chance or just being an extreme way to express how much he does not like anymore JSB [Blatter]. Or he thought you can buy FIFA as they bought the WC.
«I have a bet since day one, he will withdraw but on June 1st after his 10 min speech. By doing so he can say he push Blatter to make new commitments bla bla bla and get out under applause. Before means he is a looser [sic]. So…He will get some votes. Less than 60 today after CAF support.
«It will be the «coup de grace» if you would officially send a message as the CONCACAF President by saying CONCACAF supports unanimously. So I am not giving you an advice but just my feeling about what I think is the situation.'»
Warner went on to try to discredit the allegations made against him by CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer, by referring to a legal battle he was involved in back in 2006, where a New York District judge dismissed his testimony as being «generally without credibility» and «fabricated».
Warner continued: «The complaints made in this matter are politically motivated against Mr Bin Hammam and me and are designed, among other things, to cause serious prejudice and damage to both Mr Bin Hammam and myself at one of the most critical times for the FIFA.
«The decision to suspend me is an abuse of the process and achieves no real purpose as stated in the decision and again demonstrates the bias of this enquiry. I intend to say a lot more on this matter shortly. In the meantime, I will vigorously defend my reputation as well as the reputation of the rest of the Caribbean members.»
Bin Hammam’s defence
Like Warner, former FIFA presidential candidate Bin Hammam stated his disappointment in the way Sunday’s proceedings unfolded, claiming that the provisional ban is completely disproportionate and accusing FIFA of a lack of fair play.
A statement from Bin Hammam on his official website read: «I have been referred to the Ethics Committee based on evidence which was strong enough in the views of the FIFA General Secretary [Jerome Valcke] for such procedure. However, the Ethics Committee in its meeting today did not find this evidence sufficient to convict me. Consequently, I should have been given the benefit of doubt but instead, I have been banned from all football activities.
«I have been given the impression that the Ethics Committee is absolutely an independent committee, but in the press conference we have seen today, the General Secretary made clear that he is the one who has the influence in this Committee.
«I’m very disappointed about the way the status of the proceeding has been presented at the media conference. I am expecting that this will continue. This is not how I understand fair play. I’m reserving all my rights.»