Jack Warner breaks silence to blame English media

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The Independent Online

Jack Warner has broken his silence on the 2018 World Cup vote and pinned the blame for England's defeat squarely at the door of the media investigations into FIFA.

Three days before the vote, BBC's Panorama programme accused three FIFA members of bribery and also alleged FIFA vice-president Warner tried to supply ticket touts.

The programme followed the Sunday Times investigation which saw six FIFA senior officials banned for a number of offences including corruption.

Warner told Press Association Sport: "Suffice it to say that the FIFA ExCo as a body could not have voted for England having been insulted by their media in the worst possible way at the same time. To do so would have been the ultimate insult [to FIFA]."

Warner's support was key to England's hopes - in his role as president of the CONCACAF federation of Caribbean, north and central American countries he controlled three votes.

England 2018 insiders say Warner had promised to support them in the days leading up to the vote in Zurich last Thursday.

Bid leaders do not believe the media coverage was the reason for England securing only two of the 22 FIFA members' votes last week, but a number of members have insisted that was the case including Cyprus' Marios Lefkaritis, Japan's Junji Ogura and now Warner.

Meanwhile, the head of Australia's failed 2022 bid Frank Lowy today said that "playing straight" may have cost them the World Cup and that FIFA members lied outright to them about their voting intentions.

Lowy told SBS: "When we started the process we had a meeting with our advisers that we would do nothing improper in the fullest sense.

"I wanted to give credit to Australia and not to get caught in some kind of shonky business, and I can assure you now that we didn't do anything that was improper in this whole period.

"Did that cost us the bid? Maybe. I don't know, I'm not sure. But we are straight and we wanted to play it straight.

"Unbelievable things have happened. Qatar had 11 votes in the first round - one more and the vote would have been over then.

"I believe some intended to vote for us from the second round onwards and never got the chance, while quite a number just outright lied to us...or they wanted to be nice to me."

A member of FIFA's ethics committee has questioned the legitimacy of Qatar's successful 2022 World Cup bid.

Australian football commentator Les Murray also insisted that there was collusion between Spain-Portugal and Qatar - the ethics last month dismissed that due to lack of evidence - Murray did not take part in the hearing.

Murray, speaking on a personal basis, told SBS radio: "As a private individual I'm convinced there was collusion.

"That Qatar should hold the World Cup is a notion that borders on the ludicrous.

"If you are going to take the World Cup to new lands, why not take it to Australia?"

"FIFA is in big trouble.

"Nobody will believe that Qatar won this process legitimately - people will probe away asking questio

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