Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner said he was sold the soccer World Cup television rights for Trinidad and Tobago for as little as US$1 in return for supporting FIFA president Sepp Blatter in elections.
Warner, who resigned from all his soccer positions in June after he was suspended by FIFA following allegations in a cash-for-votes scandal, issued a statement on Thursday revealing the details of the television deals.
A spokesperson for FIFA said soccer’s world governing body was “looking into” Warner’s statement and would make no further statement in the meantime.
Warner said that he was awarded the rights for seven World Cups at a minimal fee.
For the 1998 tournament, Warner said FIFA sold them to him, through a Mexican company, for just US$1.
Warner said the money he made from selling the rights “was used primarily to assist in the development of football in Trinidad and Tobago.”
“This was just after Blatter had won the FIFA presidency following a most brutal campaign against Lennart Johansson, a campaign in which [Mohamed] bin Hammam and I played critical roles in support of Mr Blatter,” Warner said in the statement.
Warner has been heavily critical of the FIFA boss ever since he resigned midway through this year as president of CONCACAF, the regional confederation for North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Warner was accused of having organized a meeting where bin Hammam, the former Asian Football Confederation president from Qatar who was running against Blatter for the presidency, was alleged to have distributed US$40,000 in brown envelopes to Caribbean soccer officials.
Warner and bin Hammam have both denied the allegations against them with Warner promising to unleash a “tsunami” against Blatter.
In Thursday’s statement, he said he was sold the rights to more World Cups after helping Blatter get re-elected in 2002 and 2006.
“President Blatter sold me, not the CFU [Caribbean Football Union], the World Cup TV rights for 2002 and 2006, no doubt in appreciation of the work I did [with Bin Hammam] for his re-election. The sale of these rights was used to develop Caribbean football,” Warner said in his statement.
Warner, who is the Trinidad and Tobago Works and Infrastructure minister, said the rights for last year’s and 2014 World Cup finals were again sold to him, but “using the CFU as the vehicle.”
Warner said he was offered another deal this year “in exchange for my support [and by extension the support of the CFU and the CONCACAF] in the FIFA presidential election, FIFA again offered me the sale of the World Cup Rights for 2018 and 2022 as a ‘gift’ at a nominal fee.”
Warner said FIFA also agreed to grant two US$500,000 “Goal Projects,” “as a gift to the CONCACAF to do with as CONCACAF wished.”
Warner said FIFA had since withdrawn the television rights for the 2014 World Cup and revoked the offers for 2018 and 2022.
Blatter was re-elected for a fourth term on June 1 and vowed to introduce reforms in the wake of bribery and corruption allegations.