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Warner: I never made money from football

Tuesday, October 9 2012

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NATIONAL Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday alleged mismanagement at the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation as he sought to explain a letter written by him urging Sports Minister Anil Roberts to not authorise funds to the entity.

On Friday, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley raised the issue of a letter dated April 20 from Warner, then Works Minister, to Roberts. Rowley said this letter in relation to TTFF funding came amid a FIFA ban of Warner, pending probe into FIFA bribery allegations.

Warner yesterday said he never gained from football at any stage in his career.

“At no point in time have I ever tried to make money on football in Trinidad and Tobago,” Warner said. “I was not banned from football anywhere by anyone at anytime. No one banned me from football. I have been in football for 29 consecutive years. And everything I have done in my life have been for football. Nobody before me has done more than what I have done for football in this country. And it will take a long time for anybody after me to do that.”

Warner’s statements came amid lingering questions over allegation of bribery in relation to the 2011 FIFA presidential elections in which he has failed to deny handing out thousands in cash to members of the Caribbean Football Union at a meeting at the Hyatt Regency, Port-of-Spain.

Warner was also involved in a FIFA ticketing scandal where a travel agency tied to his family was alleged to have profited. He was reported to have been made to pay a fine.

While Warner said he was never banned, he was in fact suspended from football last year, during the probe of the bribery investigations, shortly before he quit his plush post as FIFA vice-president in a move which triggered FIFA (for unclear reasons) to end its investigations against him.

Warner also was heavily criticised in a ruling of the Court of Arbitration for Sport for administering a secret US-dollar football bank account.

Years ago, Warner was criticised for overselling a highly-anticipated football match at the National Stadium.

Warner accussed the TTFF of mismanagement, in particular its president Tony Harford. He criticised Harford for taking a 15 percent fee on $11 million in funding, contrasting this with NIB’s 1.5 percent fee for billions in projects.

“I thought it was wrong to charge 15 percent,” Warner said. “I don’t care what anybody says it was wrong. And that has to change.”

Warner did not say whether fees should inversely relate to the scale of sums under management. He also criticised the rental of a property at Anna Street, Woodbrook, for $46,000 a month. He said he, and his family, housed the TTFF rent free at Dundonald Street for four years.

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