British MP demands investigation into FIFA chief Sepp Blatter
Friday, 30 December 2011
December 30 - British MP Damian Collins has renewed his call for a thorough investigation into Sepp Blatter's own conduct following startling new allegations made by the FIFA President's former right-hand man and senior vice-president, Jack Warner.
Warner has disclosed a string of revelations about alleged wrongdoing by Blatter since being forced to resign from FIFA in the wake of the cash-for-votes scandal that also led to the downfall of the former Asian football chief Mohamed Bin Hammam, banned from all football activities pending appeal.
In his latest tirade, Warner claimed he was awarded lucrative World Cup TV rights for a nominal $1 (£0.65/€0.77) after assisting Blatter's election as President.
Warner still believes he was let down and his latest comments have prompted a strong intervention by the prominent Parliamentarian Collins, who recently formed a global grouping of politicians to push for reform.
Collins describes the new allegations as "shocking" and believes Blatter, who last October announced a two-year road map towards cleaning up FIFA, must also clean up his own act.
"Is he serious about sorting the mess out, or is he only interested in protecting his own?" asks Collins (pictured), who sits on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee.
"These are serious allegations that must surely go to the very top of FIFA and need to be fully and independently investigated."
Warner has alleged that in 1998, through a Mexican Company called OTI, he was sold the FIFA World Cup rights for Trinidad and Tobago for $1, following his support for Blatter to win the FIFA Presidency.
Warner also states that he used the sale of those rights "primarily to assist in the development of football in Trinidad and Tobago" and further alleges that in 2002 he was personally sold the World Cup TV Rights for 2002 and 2006, and that he later acquired the rights for the 2010 and 2014 championships.
Warner, who ran the game in the Caribbean, additionally claimed that he refused to back Blatter for this year's election – the 75-year-old Swiss was re-elected unopposed in June after bin Hammam withdrew – despite being offered the 2018 and 2022 World Cup rights for Trinidad and Tobago, again for a nominal fee.
"If true, how could deals like this be done without the knowledge of the most senior people in the organisation?" asks Collins of Warner's claims.
"This is a question that has to be answered by Sepp Blatter and it also demonstrates why there has to be a committee of investigation and inquiry which can act independently of the President and FIFA's Executive Committee.
"In the last year, 11 of the 24 members of FIFA's ruling Executive Committee have faced allegations of corruption; no real progress towards reform has been made within FIFA and there has never been an independent investigation into all of the bribery allegations made against them.
"One man is ultimately responsible for this – Sepp Blatter."
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