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Tuesday, June 21, 2011


The world of football is a slightly less grimy place tonight after Jack Walker's resignation from the posts of FIFA vice-president and CONCACAF president. In response, FIFA issued the following statement, one which is bound to illicit emotions among football fans ranging from swinging on the chandeliers with a glass of champagne in one's hand right through to downright incredulity, if not contempt:

"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 and 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."

The corks will be popping because Walker has upped sticks; the incredulity comes from FIFA's Ethics Committee closing the case against him and the organisation presuming that Walker's "innocence is maintained." Although Walker has left FIFA under a cloud, at the end of the day, the prediction made on this blog has, for the most part, come true, thanks to the above statement: there has been a FIFA whitewash, of Sepp Blatter first of all, and now of Walker.

Walker himself issued a statement later in the afternoon which read:  "This decision is by my own volition and self-determination; albeit it comes during the sequel to the contentious Mohamed bin Hammam meeting in Port of Spain in May with CFU Delegates.

"I am convinced, and I am advised by counsel, that since my actions did not extend beyond facilitating the meeting that gave Mr Bin Hammam an opportunity to pursue his aborted bid for the FIFA presidency, I would be fully exonerated by any objective arbiter.

"I have, nonetheless, arrived at the decision to withdraw from FIFA affairs in order to spare FIFA, CONCACAF and, in particular, [the] CFU (Caribbean Football Union) and its membership, from further acrimony and divisiveness arising from this and related issues."

A noble act of sacrifice, indeed. Or, maybe he realised that time may well have been running out for him in all three organisations. He also decided to take aim at his former CONCACAF general-secretary/vice-president, Chuck Blazer, who had originally released an e-mail claiming that Walker, AFC president Mohammed Bin Hammam, and two CFU employees, had been giving delegates at the CFU Congress in May gifts of cash reputed to be of the value of $40,000 to every delegate, along with a lap-top.

According to The Guardian, he said this on Bloomberg: '"I have lost my enthusiasm to continue..The general secretary [Blazer] 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." Blazer did not respond to a voicemail seeking comment. In a previous interview he said it was his duty to report wrongdoing.'

'Warner lifted the lid on a cosy culture of gifts and financial favours at FIFA. "It's not unusual for such things to happen and gifts have been around throughout the history of FIFA," Warner said. "What's happening now for me is hypocrisy."

'This, said Warner, is why he has quit football. "I've been hung out to dry continually and I'm not prepared to take that."' (Are the last couple of quoted paragraphs the "tsunami" he was talking about a couple of weeks ago?)

He's a generous man, is our Jack, and not just to his footballing cronies, but back home in T&T as well. Apparently, he was reported handing out stationery to "hundreds" of schoolchildren and other gifts to a large number of his constituents during a tour of his constituency just over a fortnight ago. There is a lesson for us all there; we must all think of the little children. We must!

Nothing to do with bribery or buying votes; oh no. Jack is a kind and generous man, one of life's altruists. However, several of the Trinidad and Tobago 2006 World Cup squad still haven't received their bonuses; after a long and protracted fight, those who did had to settle for a much smaller amount of money than they were originally promised by Walker and the rest of the controlling body of T&T football.

To find out more on the man they call "Teflon Jack", and the interesting footballing life he has led, please click on the below link to an article shown on Trinidad and Tobago's Guardian Online website:

Not only that, but apparently Walker had something to say regarding allegations made concerning Sasha Mohammed, an adviser to Trinidad and Tobago's Prime Minister. Walker is the country's Minister for  Works and Transport. The same website reported it thus:

Both articles make interesting reading, and are an intriguing insight into the man and his workings.

Right, now that Walker has slunk off, what of Mohammed Bin Hammam? Now that the FIFA Ethics Committee have binned the case against Walker, will they now proceed with their investigation against the Qatari head of the AFC? They may well do; on the other hand, they might also decide that it would not be worthwhile continuing their inquiries into Bin Hammam's alleged behaviour.

It could all depend on whether Bin Hammam follows Walker's lead and resigns from the top spot in the AFC hierarchy. He might even keep his job (after some behind-the-scenes manoeuvring) if some sort of "arrangement" was to be made that he would not challenge Blatter in the future for the post of FIFA president. This may well run and run. It's all very hypothetical; the immediate future will be very interesting indeed. We may still hear more of the man from Trinidad, but the Walker era in CONCACAF has come to an end, at least for now (albeit it by his committing football suicide), and that is a reason for every honest football fan to rejoice, hang out the flags and go to bed happy tonight.

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