According to author, journalist, and FIFA corruption expert Andrew Jennings, England’s friendly this weekend against Jack Warner’s Trinidad was not about sucking up to the powerful FIFA chieftain to better position the FA for the 2018 World Cup bid. Instead, Jennings asserts (pdf) that it was a threat by Warner to eliminate Britain’s anachronistic (but useful) permanent hold on a Vice Presidency within FIFA. If Warner and FIFA were to eliminate it, Britain would have almost zero power in the soccer’s world governing body.
One wrong word and the Brits could be relegated to the outer darknesses of Fifa with less clout than Papua New Guinea. So as Fifa’s scandals mount – bribes, ticket rackets, burgeoning legal bills – don’t be surprised at the silence from the blazers of this offshore island.
He then goes on to state how the biggest threat to England’s 2018 WC bid comes not from the USA, but from Mexico.
Despite this theatrical diversion, it’s unlikely the World Cup will go to America again while Warner has a say. Why? Business there is too accountable, too transparent for Warner and his rackets. Last thing Jack wants is the Feds and the Internal Revenue gumshoes checking the takings. Think Enron, think jail.
One of my better sources in the real world of Fifa, where money comes first and football last, tells me that at this stage in the race, Mexico is indeed where the money is, even though they haven’t made a formal declaration like the eager English.
The choice of host for 2018 – and possibly 2022 – is the last possible big payday for the ageing generation at Fifa who thought kickbacks on contracts and bribes were theirs by right. For the English, it may be the Mexican wave – goodbye.
But not before making the Warner family richer.