FIFA's Jack Warner Accused of Seeking England World Cup Bid Favours

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FIFA vice-president Jack Warner with David Beckham during an England 2018 visit to Trinidad last September (Getty)
(WFI) The leaders of England’s failed bid to host the 2018 World Cup were asked by FIFA vice-president Jack Warner to pay for an education centre in his native Trinidad during the bid process.

The Times newspaper alleges that Warner twice asked England’s World Cup bid leaders about funding for facilities on the island, in London in October 2009 and again while a high-profile delegation visited Trinidad at the time of a Caribbean Football Union dinner last February.

Under FIFA rules bid nations were prohibited from offering gifts or other incentives to delegates.

English Premier League chairman Sir Dave Richards told The Times that over drinks at a London hotel following the 2009 Leaders in Football conference, Warner asked him and former FA and World Cup bid chairman David Triesman for funds to build the education centre.

"He didn't say: 'Do this and I'll vote for you'," said Richards.

"But it was always at the back of my mind. I did nod my head at Triesman as if to say: Let's not get into this.

"What he said was England should be building this kind of education block as a legacy throughout the world. He did say Trinidad and Tobago wanted one. He said it was an education set-up that he wanted for the children of Trinidad and Tobago.”

Triesman confirmed to The Times the meeting at Chelsea’s Wyndham Grand Hotel, saying that Warner was told that it was “absolutely out of the question".

But Warner was apparently not dissuaded.

Four months later, David Dein, who was now England bid international president, visited Trinidad with bid CEO Andy Anson and bid ambassador David Ginola for the Caribbean Football Union gala dinner, which England 2018 partly funded.

The following day Warner took some of the England 2018 delegation to the village of Longdenville near the island’s capital, Port of Spain. Warner showed them a dilapidated sports facility that local councillors had petitioned Warner to redevelop.

Plans for a T$13million ($2million) complex comprising a football field, cricket pitch, changing rooms, toilets and a swimming pool had been drawn up.

In the view of some local media, Warner asked the delegation, according to The Times, “to at least help get the project started with a financial donation". A microphone was handed to David Dein who said that he would see what he could do.

Funding for the facility by England 2018 was reported in the Trinidadian media as a fait accompli, but England bid sources have always maintained that nothing was ever promised or given.

Warner denied, with typical vigour, the allegations made in today’s paper, telling The Times that the meeting never took place.

"I don't know what you are talking about," he was quoted by AFP.

"Why should I ask David Freestone [sic] or somebody for some offices here? Why should I? To do what? It doesn't make sense."

By INSIDER’s James Corbett

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