In a video maintaining his innocence following last week’s FIFA corruption indictments, former FIFA vice president Jack Warner cited an article from the satirical newspaper The Onion while criticizing the United States for leading last week’s round of arrests in what he called an attempt to host the World Cup this year.
The Onion article, headlined, “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States,” was published Wednesday, the day nine FIFA officials and five corporate executives were indicted on charges including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.
Warner—a former FIFA vice president and executive committee member, as well as CONCACAF president, Caribbean Football Union president and Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation (TTFF) special adviser—was among the nine FIFA officials indicted.
Warner, 72, surrendered to police in Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday, but issued a statement maintaining his innocence.
In the video posted to his official Facebook page on Sunday, Warner said, “If I was so bad, and if FIFA was so bad, how come the head of FIFA is not?” referring to the reelection of FIFA president Sepp Blatter to a fifth term on Friday.
“And then I look to see,” Warner continued while holding up a printout of The Onion article, “that FIFA has frantically announced 2015—2015, this year—an Olympic final in the World Cup beginning May 27. If FIFA is so bad, why is it the USA wants to keep the FIFA World Cup? Why is it they’ve begun games on May 27—May 27, two days before the FIFA election? Why is it the U.S. authorities sought to embarrass FIFA in Zurich? Something has to be wrong.”
In the video posted to his Facebook page on Sunday, Warner accuses the U.S., which led the round of indictments, for wanting to host the World Cup this year. The next two World Cups will be hosted in 2018 and 2022, by Russia and Qatar, respectively.
The video was removed from Warner’s Facebook page later Sunday before another video without references to The Onion article was shared. A copy of the original video was published to YouTube.
- Mike Fiammetta