May 31, 2015 6:47 pm

Ex-FIFA vice president Jack Warner cites ‘The Onion’ in criticism of U.S.


Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner appears to have been fooled by a story by the satirical website The Onion after he appeared in a video criticizing the United States while holding a copy of the article.

Warner, a Trinidad and Tobago politician, was among 14 individuals indicted this week in the U.S. on federal corruption charges and took to Facebook Sunday to defend himself, implying the U.S. was only pressing charges because it was upset for not getting the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.

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In the eight-minute video that has since been removed from Facebook, Warner holds up a printout of The Onion headline: “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States,” while asking  “if FIFA is so bad why is it the U.S. wants … the World Cup?”

“I made the point to you over and over that all this thing has stemmed from the failed U.S. bid to host the World Cup,” he said.

The Onion, a well-known satirical news organization, published the story on Wednesday just hours after the stunning announcement from U.S. authorities that 14 people had been charged following an investigation into FIFA officials in what officials called “deep-seated and brazen corruption in soccer’s global governing body.”

In the video, Warner also wonders why the story came out two days before the FIFA election that saw embattled president Sepp Blatter re-elected on Friday.

“After all of these accusations, the president of FIFA, Sepp Blatter, has been re-elected for a fifth consecutive term. If I was so bad, and if FIFA is so bad, how come the head of FIFA is not?” Warner said in the video.

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During the often confusing eight-minute segment, Warner thanks supporters for the “blank cheques” they have sent him, while also stating: “Nothing I have done within FIFA has been inconsistent with the international culture of FIFA.”

Warner has a strong connection to Canadian soccer. He was president of CONCACAF – which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean – from 1990 to 2011.

He was credited with helping bring the FIFA U-20 World Cup to Toronto in 2007, which was tied to the building of BMO Field.

“None of this would have happened without the complete, committed support of Jack Warner, who really went – in my estimation – above and beyond in his support for Canada to get this thing done,” Kevan Pipe, former chief operating officer of the Canadian Soccer Association, said in 2007. “It all boiled down to: if we didn’t build this stadium, this championship wouldn’t have come. And none of this would have occurred without the political support that we had from Day 1 from Jack Warner.”

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Warner also had a hand in bringing FIFA’s inaugural women’s under-19 tournament to Canada in 2002.

However, some are questioning whether Warner was actually taken in by the article or knew what he was doing.

French journalist Philippe Auclair said on Twitter that Warner could be using the article to manipulate supporters in Trinidad and Tobago who might not be familiar with The Onion.

*With a file from the Canadian Press

© 2015 Shaw Media

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