Whistleblower Claims Australia Paid Disgraced Jack Warner Half a Million Dollars for World Cup Influence
AUSTRALIA’S bid team for the 2022 World Cup have been accused by a whistleblower of paying the disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner almost half a million dollars in the belief that he would vote for them.
The allegation has been made to Michael Garcia, the American lawyer leading FIFA’s investigations into claims of corruption in the bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
The whistleblower, who attended meetings at which the Australian bid team discussed the Warner transaction and others of a similar nature, claims that while the money was paid to upgrade the Marvin Lee Stadium in Macoya, Trinidad, it was always intended to influence Warner’s vote.
Warner was at the time president of CONCACAF, the governing body for football in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. The stadium is part of the Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, a football academy built on land alleged to have been owned by Warner. He denied ownership, insisting it belonged to the Caribbean Football Union, of which he was president.
The new whistleblower allegations come at the end of a month in which FBI paperwork in the US suggested that Warner was paid more than a million US dollars by a company controlled by another senior FIFA executive, Qatar’s Mohamed Bin Hammam, after the Gulf state had been awarded the 2022 tournament in a shock vote. Bin Hammam and Warner have denied wrongdoing.
The whistleblower also alleges that money was paid for projects in Oceania and Africa on the understanding that FIFA ExCo members representing those areas would vote for Australia in exchange. Garcia is also looking into claims that Australia and Russia, who won the right to stage the 2018 tournament, attempted to set up a vote swap, contrary to FIFA’s bidding rules.