“2018? Warner gives England the Mexican Wave Goodbye”

Posted on July 17, 2009. Filed under: South Africa 2010 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

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2018? Warner gives England the Mexican

Wave Goodbye”

veröffentlicht: 8. Februar 2009, 02:49 – zuletzt bearbeitet: 8. Februar 2009 – 02:49

Grafik: Screenshot vom Sunday Herald

Oh ja, ich glaube nicht, dass ich zu viel versprochen habe: Der putzige Doppelwettbewerb um die Fußball-Weltmeisterschaften 2018 und 2022, erdacht von Sepp dem Unfehlbaren, wird uns noch viel Freude bereiten. Ein Gastbeitrag von Andrew Jennings, der an Sepps Hofe seit sechs Jahren nicht mehr geduldet wird, der also keine Akkreditierungen für Fifa-Events erhält. AJ konzentriert sich einmal mehr auf Jack the Ripper:

By Andrew Jennings

Jack Warner must have his World Cup. FIFA’s serial kleptomaniac, now 65, knows that 2018 is his last chance to acquire the world’s most lucrative sports event and, with his greedy family, loot it. Where does he want it? Mexico.

If anything goes awry, the USA is the fallback. Both countries are captive members of Concacaf, the regional FIFA franchise controlled from Trinidad by Warner.

It’s unthinkable that the Warners would let a World Cup and the once in a lifetime chance to skim TV rights, marketing and hotel packages slip through their fingers. And of course they are well-practiced as the biggest ticket racketeers ever.

When they staged FIFA’s Under-17 championship in Trinidad in 2001, I was there to see them snaffle fast food and beverage contracts in the stadiums, security, hotels, the IT business and, with the personal approval of FIFA president Blatter, their travel agency got all 15 teams’ flight tickets. The construction contracts came earlier.

In 2007 Warner told the BBC that his franchise must host 2018 saying, ‘There are moves to give it to England. I must fight that. I really don’t believe that we should lay down and play dead to anyone who wants to take the World Cup from Concacaf.’ Only two countries in Warner’s franchise could stage the championship: Mexico and America.

For the last few years Blatter has jerked football around, promising, then withdrawing, rotation around the continents. This obfuscation smells of a pact perfected in FIFA’s shadows.

What is that deal? Warner boasted in 2003, ‘I have told Mr Blatter that whenever he is running for election do not come to campaign in Concacaf. He doesn’t have to. Don’t waste his time. Concacaf has 35 votes. He gets 35.’ Blatter gets the FIFA Presidency for Life; Warner gets all the money he can bank, all the tickets he can tout. Ever noticed that when caught racketeering, Blatter inevitably protects him?

And at last, his own World Cup in a country rarely troubled by business transparency. The downside with America is all that freedom of information – and picky business regulators.

Why so sure about Mexico? Drop by Warner’s vast, private commercial leisure, health club and convention complex, with artificial pitch in Trinidad – the Centre of Excellence – all paid for by FIFA.

One salon is named after Herr Blatter. It should be. He provided the cash. The other big one is the Guillermo Canedo Hall. Mexican TV mogul Canedo was a member of FIFA’s ruling group from 1962 until his death in 1997. His understandings with president Joao Havelange brought the World Cup to Mexico in 1970 and again in 1986 and truckloads of dollars for Canedo’s Televisa company.

Canedo’s son, another Guillermo, became a vice-president of Warner’s Concacaf in 2003, the same year he was appointed boss of Televisa International. He also sits on FIFA’s Marketing and Television advisory board.

Can Warner pull it off? Mexico and the USA have adequate facilities – and delivered in the past. Rival bids, hobbled by the global financial meltdown, will struggle to find funding for stadiums, new roads and hotels by December next year.

So Russia’s bid – as oligarchs seek buyers for their yachts – may be as credible as the soon to evaporate bids from impoverished Indonesia, sweltering Qatar and confused Japan and Korea.

Blatter’s banning two-country bids looks part of the conspiracy. Holland/Belgium are more compact than England, the trains are better and so is the beer. Spain/Portugal is only slightly larger. France in 1998 was bigger. What’s the problem? They are the problem. They are surplus to requirements.

An early bath looms for Holland/Belgium with Portugal abandoned on the bench by Spain – which may stagger on to become, with England, Europe’s two bids.

UEFA is likely to favour Spain. Their boss Angel Villar Llona is tight with Blatter and active on FIFA’s refereeing committee. England’s Geoff Thompson, who elbowed the moral John McBeth aside, is the only FIFA vice-president that never comes up on my Google searches. Invisible.

Australia? The irritating thought won’t go away that billionaire Frank Lowy’s bid is to divert attention from tax probes into his business empire – and why his son Peter pleaded the fifth when questioned on Capitol Hill last year about the family’s secret accounts in Lichtenstein.

FIFA’s leaders are fond of Frank and luxuriating on his yacht, lengthy enough to squeeze between two penalty areas – but the berth stops there.

The fantastical notion that England is ‘front-runner’ has been invented by London reporters. The only way to know is to poll the 23 voting members at FIFA – and they do omerta. Likely scenario: Spain and England bruise each other, America withdraws and Televisa pulls clear to win it. For the English, it may be the Mexican wave – goodbye.

I tipped Warner to win seven months ago in these pages. A familiar voice was assuring me, ‘I hope you enjoy Mexico or the States, England isn’t even being discussed in private.’ That was the weekend Capello dragged a tired team to Trinidad and Warner made a killing touting tickets.

As last weekend neared I worried; had my source failed me? Then, as deadline loomed, both countries declared. Phew. The Voice was back on last week. ‘Didn’t I tell you? And they’ve given Wembley the UEFA Champions League Final, it’s a sop.’

Once you know The Fix is in, as it was with the last two World Cup campaigns, there’s not a lot more for reporters to write. But that doesn’t fill pages in London papers so we are inveigled into another fantasy: the whimsy that among the 23 voters are some waverers who might be seduced by a lavishly-illustrated history of Hillsborough, lunch with Mrs Windsor at Windsor and bedtime coca at Claridges. More up-market scoff at Downing Street, Parliament and other eateries. But the buggers live like that all the time, chauffeured around the Michelin Guide.

The Voice tells me that Warner already has 12 votes locked up – Victory! – and maybe 13. Here’s how the numbers are running.

Warner starts with three votes. His and his two handpicked Concacaf sidekicks on FIFA’s executive committee, perfectly round Chuck Blazer from Trump Tower, New York and his other home, Paradise Island, Nassau, and Guatemala’s Rafael Salguero. Hands up everyone who ever heard of this Master of the Football Universe. He says he is a lawyer for banks. I didn’t think anybody these days admitted working for banks.

Shift south and there’s three easy pulls in Latin America. Don Julio Grondona, the noted anti-Semite from Argentina, chairs FIFA’s finance committee and Warner is his deputy. What do they do with FIFA’s money? Swiss Investigating Magistrate Thomas Hildbrand is trying to find out.

Another kindred spirit is Ricardo Teixeira, son-in-law of former FIFA president Joao Havelange, himself no stranger to corruption allegations. Tricky Ricky bosses Brazil’s national association. The most recent investigation said it is, ‘a den of crime, anarchy, incompetence and dishonesty.’

The terrible trio is made whole by Paraguay’s Nicolas Leoz. He’s presided over the Latin American franchise since 1986. Last time England was bidding Sir Bobby Charlton was dispatched to Asuncion to court him, just days after Leoz had secretly trousered a $100,000 kickback from ISL, the company given World Cup marketing rights. A month later Leoz was hosted in London by the FA, lunched at the House of Commons, dined at Lancaster House and then collected a further $30,000 from ISL. How are we doing? Look’s like we’re up to six for Televisa.

At this point I need to tell you that last December Herr Blatter, speaking of the campaign for 2018, assured us, ‘Of course fair play will be the order of the day’ and you must wonder if he was bonging with Michael Phelps.

Warner’s been in Nigeria recently giving support to a FIFA voter in distress, Dr Amos Adamu. Readers will recall Amos was denounced for corruption and fired from their Sports Ministry. Warner will be back in Lagos later this week with light-fingered Leoz, guests of the African regional franchise congress.

Which way will Africa’s leader Issa Hayatou swing? And new boy from Ivory Coast, Jacques Anouma? The fourth voter, Slim Chiboub from Tunisia, was involved in some curious backroom activities when Germany was desperately trying to pull ahead of South Africa to grab 2006. Which they did.

After listening to my well-informed friends in West Africa I’m compelled to write that all four African votes will back Jack. That’s 10 – two more than Europe can muster  – and Mexico is ordering Corona by the truckload.

Thailand’s Worwai Makudi was helped to see Germany’s case for 2006. Jack should be his man. That’s 11 on the board. You wouldn’t think that Asian franchise boss Mohamed Bin Hammam, a copiously rich fellow from Qatar, would ever need any help. Suddenly his leadership faces two well-funded challenges and he needs help. Hello Jack. That’s 12 of 23 – Bingo!

Maybe Jack will score more. Russia’s delegate has his own way of looking at these things and we know little about the new guy from Oceania, Tahiti’s Raynald Temarii, whose first language is French and says he once followed Liverpool.

England might add two votes from the Japanese and Korean delegates to Europe’s eight. Much might change before the vote in December 2010 but for now, it seems that Jack’s past the post.

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