Jack Warner faces ridicule for using spoof article to support claim of innocence
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Already facing an indictment for corruption while a top official at football’s world governing body, FIFA, Jack Warner is now facing ridicule in the international media after using an article from a well-known satirical website to blast the United States for charging him and to support his claim of innocence.
In an eight-minute video posted to his website, on YouTube and on his Facebook page yesterday, Warner held up a printed copy of the spoof article published last Wednesday on theonion.com, headlined “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States”, as he claimed that the charges against him were motivated by the US’ failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup.
The next World Cup will actually be hosted in Russia in 2018.
“[The US] lost the bid to Qatar, a small country, an Arabic country, a Muslim country. I would understand the US embarrassment that a small country as Qatar, with less than 30,000 people as residents, could have been able to overcome them this way. I could understand their pain, but nothing gives them the right to do what they’re doing,” said Warner, who is one of 14 people, including nine former and current FIFA officials, indicted on racketeering, bribery, wire fraud and money laundering charges.
“No one country has any divine right to host a World Cup, and if the FIFA authorities, in their wisdom or lack of it, chose to select Qatar for the World Cup, then so be it. Take your losses like a man and go.”
Warner further accused the US of having double standards. “If FIFA was so bad why is it USA wants to keep the FIFA World Cup? Why is it that they began games on May 27, two days before election? Something has to be wrong,” Warner said, referring to last Friday’s election in which Sepp Blatter was re-elected as president for a fifth consecutive term.
The video has since been edited, removing the piece that referenced The Onion article.
However, the 72-year-old former FIFA vice president and president of Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) has become the target of several jokes on social media, as newspapers highlighted his faux pas and published the screen shot of him holding up article from the fake news site, that was grabbed before the video was edited.
Defending himself against the charges which the US is seeking extradition for him to face, Warner insisted that nothing he did within FIFA was inconsistent with the international culture of the organisation.
He said the past week had been a “most trying” and “difficult” one for him and the charges levelled “without any question of any kind” left him “totally surprised”.
Photo: Jack Warner holding up a printed copy of The Onion spoof article.