FIFA bans Jack Warner for life

Five FIFA defendants facing extradition

Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner was banned for life from football activities by FIFA, effective Friday. Warner is also facing extradition to the U.S. from his home country of Trinidad and Tobago. 

Meanwhile, five of the nine current and former FIFA officials embroiled in an international racketeering and bribery investigation are either facing extradition or have been sent to the U.S. to face charges that could put them behind bars for years if they are convicted. 

Warner, who also faces bribery and racketeering charges in the U.S. probe, was banned by the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s Ethics Committee from both national and international football activities. 

According to a statement on FIFA’s website, the decision was made on the basis of investigations by the committee following its report on the 2018/2022 World Cup bidding process. 

“Warner was found to have committed many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official in different high-ranking and influential positions at FIFA and CONCACAF [FIFA’s governing body for the Caribbean, North and Central America],” the statement read. “In his positions as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, as well as other money-making schemes.” 

Warner, a former political leader in Trinidad, was once a close ally of FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, who is facing an investigation by Swiss authorities over allegations that he undervalued the award of World Cup television broadcasting rights to Warner. Blatter was questioned in the matter on Friday, the Associated Press reported. Blatter has previously denied wrongdoing in connection with the Swiss probe. 

Li extradition  

Swiss authorities announced Tuesday that former Costa Rican Football Federation President Eduardo Li was ordered extradited from Zurich, Switzerland, following his arrest on May 27 with six other FIFA leaders, including former Vice President and Cayman Islands businessman Jeffrey Webb. 

According to U.S. court records, Li is alleged to have taken bribes in return for the sale of commercial rights for World Cup 2018 qualifiers to a U.S. sports marketing company. 

“Li massively influenced the competitive situation and distorted the market for media rights in connection with the World Cup qualifying matches,” according to the Swiss Federal Office of Justice statement. “Furthermore, among other things the Costa Rican Football Federation was prevented from negotiating marketing agreements which might have been more favorable.” 

In addition to Li, Swiss authorities have already ordered the extradition of two other FIFA officials from Zurich, including former Venezuelan Football Federation President Rafael Esquivel and Uruguayan Eugenio Figueredo. All three can challenge the extradition orders to the Swiss appeals court if they wish. 

Cayman’s Webb already agreed to be returned to the U.S. He is awaiting a court date in October from his home in Loganville, Georgia, where he remains under 24/7 guard and house arrest. 

Three other FIFA defendants are awaiting the result of Swiss extradition proceedings, including former Cayman Islands resident Costas Takkas, Julio Rocha of Nicaragua and Jose Maria Marin of Brazil. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

For the Cayman Compass’s full FIFA coverage, visit the Compass Data Desk.

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Joseph “Sepp” Blatter, left, president of FIFA, and Jack Warner during a Toronto news conference in 2007. The two men are now under investigation by Swiss and U.S. authorities, respectively. – Photo: AP