Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner rejected corruption charges lodged by the United States, alleging at a press conference Friday that Washington was seeking retaliation for not getting the 2022 World Cup.
A total of 14 people — nine current or former FIFA officials and five business executives — were indicted by the United States Wednesday, following a corruption probe.
Warner, arrested in Trinidad and Tobago, said that the Americans were simply “trying to put the hurt on FIFA since they did not get World Cup 2022.”
“So,” he added, “it’s personal.”
The 72-year-old Trinidadian, who turned himself in on Wednesday and is freed after posting bail of nearly $400,000, turned himself in Wednesday to authorities in Port of Spain.
“When they sent me to prison, they thought they would have broken me. On the other hand, they have made me stronger,” Warner said during a press conference in the capital city.
According to the US Justice Department, Warner asked for and accepted bribes during the selection processes for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups in France and South Africa.
The indictment accused the government of South Africa and the World Cup 2010 bid committee in particular, of paying Warner $10 million in exchange for three votes in favor of South Africa.
The Trinidadian justice system is likely to rule in July on the United States’ extradition request.
Warner, who left FIFA in 2011 after being suspended by an ethics committee looking into corruption, was also CONCACAF president and a special advisor to the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF).
Seven other FIFA officials suspected of corruption were arrested Wednesday in Zurich, following the United State’s announcement. – Agence France-Presse