Blatter pours scorn on Warner accusations
24 Jan 2012
FIFA president Sepp Blatter has dismissed former vice-president Jack Warner’s threat of a “tsunami” of revelations of malpractice against him.
Blatter’s comments mark the latest round in the war of words between Warner and FIFA following the former’s exit from football in June – a dispute that has escalated over the past month. Warner recently resumed his attack on FIFA by accusing the organisation of being “disingenuous and dishonest.” His latest comments came following the fallout caused by his claim last month that he was handed the TV rights for seven World Cups for a minimal fee in return for securing votes for Blatter in his presidential election campaigns. Former UEFA president Lennart Johansson, who Blatter defeated in 1998’s FIFA elections, has called for an independent investigation into the claims while FIFA accused Warner of circulating “inaccuracies and falsehoods.” FIFA confirmed Warner’s claim that he received Caribbean rights for $1 per tournament, but stated that this arrangement commenced in 1986 and not – as Warner stated – in 1998 when Blatter was first elected to power. FIFA added that, until 1998, World Cup rights were often sold for nominal sums in a bid to maximise coverage in developing nations, and provide additional revenue from reselling rights to broadcasters.
Blatter has now apportioned the blame to the granting of TV rights to Warner from 1986 to 1998 to the late Mexican FIFA vice-president Guillermo Canedo. The media mogul died in January 1997 at the age of 76. “From 1986 and until 1998 he (Warner) was awarded the television rights for one dollar by Mr Canedo,” Blatter told France Football. “Why? Because Mr Canedo wanted to keep the vice-presidency of FIFA and Mr Warner had a majority in CONCACAF (Confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean).”
Blatter added in a separate interview in the German magazine Kicker: “There is no tsunami. Jack Warner is claiming I assigned him the TV rights for Trinidad for one dollar when I was first elected in 1998. That’s not true. We had no influence on the assignment of these rights. He acquired them in 1986 from OTI (Organización de Telecomunicaciones Iberoamericanas). But I do know what I’ve done wrong! I’ve taken FIFA out of the red, which was the situation when I became president in 1998, and into the black.”