Warner resigns from Fifa posts

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The Independent Football

Jack Warner, the man at the centre of the Fifa bribery scandal, has resigned from all his positions in international football.

Warner, the longest-serving member of Fifa's executive committee, had been suspended pending the outcome of a bribery inquiry.

Fifa said the ethics committee procedures against him "have been closed and the presumption of innocence is maintained".

Fifa released a statement today which read: "Jack A. Warner has informed Fifa about his resignation from his posts in international football.

"Fifa regrets the turn of events that have led to Mr Warner's decision.

"His resignation has been accepted by world football's governing body, and his contribution to international football and to Caribbean football in particular and the CONCACAF confederation are appreciated and acknowledged.

"Mr Warner is leaving Fifa by his own volition after nearly 30 years of service, having chosen to focus on his important work on behalf of the people and government of Trinidad & Tobago as a Cabinet Minister and as the Chairman of the United National Congress, the major party in his country's coalition government.

"The Fifa executive committee, the Fifa president and the Fifa management thank Mr Warner for his services to Caribbean, CONCACAF and international football over his many years devoted to football at both regional and international level, and wish him well for the future.

"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 and fellow Fifa member Mohamed Bin Hammam were suspended last month after they were accused of giving or offering bribes of 40,000 US dollars to the 25 members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU). The total sum involved was 1million US dollars according to a report to the Fifa ethics committee.

Affidavits sent to the ethics committee, copies of which has been seen by Press Association Sport, testify that Warner told the CFU members at the special meeting in Trinidad on May 10 and 11 the cash had been provided by Bin Hammam, who was then running for Fifa president.

Bahamas FA vice-president Fred Lunn said he had been given the cash in a brown envelope which he photographed before returning.

Lunn said in his affidavit that the following day "Mr Warner stated that he had instructed Mr Bin Hammam to bring the cash equivalent of any gift he had intended to bring for the people attending this meeting.

"Mr Warner then stated that the money could be used for any purpose... for grassroots programs or any purpose the individuals saw fit."

The president of the Surinam FA, Louis Giskus, also confirmed to Press Association Sport earlier this month that he was given 40,000 US dollars in a brown envelope as a gift.

A number of other associations have told investigators that they too were given the cash. Some kept it, others returned the money.

A source close to Warner said he had taken the decision "for the good of the game" but refused to comment when asked if the 68-year-old had jumped before he was pushed.

The source told Press Association Sport: "He has taken the decision after speaking to his family. He believes it is in the best interests of Caribbean football and for the good of the game generally."

Damian Collins, the Tory MP who has been campaigning for Fifa reforms, condemned the decision to drop the investigation into Warner.

He told Press Association Sport: "This just shows Fifa can't be trusted to do it by themselves. The whole investigation has been a complete farce.

"There have been stories of countries refusing to take part in the inquiry. Jack Warner has gone from protesting his innocence to resigning from Fifa, who now drop the inquiry into him.

"There has been no proper investigation by Fifa - that's the most serious thing. It's a bigger question than Jack Warner's role, it's about the integrity of the organisation.

"I don't see why this should be the end of the investigation just because he has resigned."

Warner claims he has been "hung out to dry" and insists the giving of gifts has been part of Fifa culture during his 30 years in the organisation.

He told Bloomberg: "It's not unusual for such things to happen and gifts have been around throughout the history of Fifa.

"What's happening now for me is hypocrisy."

Warner was also president of the CONCACAF federation of countries from the Caribbean and north and central America until he was reported to Fifa by CONCACAF's general secretary Chuck Blazer.

He added: "I have lost my enthusiasm to continue. The general secretary that I had employed, who worked with me for 21 years, with the assistance of elements of Fifa has sought to undermine me in ways that are unimaginable

"This is giving the impression that Fifa is sanitising itself. I've been hung out to dry continually and I'm not prepared to take that."