Accused ex-soccer official cites newspaper spoof in FIFA's defense

Sun May 31, 2015 5:36pm EDT
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former FIFA executive accused of soliciting bribes in the corruption case brought by U.S. authorities against world soccer officials, wants to know why the United States is hosting this year's World Cup if it dislikes soccer's governing body so much.

Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner, who is from Trinidad and Tobago, has denied the charges against him and was granted bail after surrendering to authorities in his home country on Wednesday. In a video posted on his Facebook page, which has now been taken down, Warner holds a newspaper and says FIFA "has frantically announced" the United States is holding this summer's World Cup.

"If FIFA is so bad, why is that the USA wants to keep the FIFA World Cup?" asks Warner, who maintains the charges against him and other FIFA officials stem from U.S. frustration over the country's failed bid to host the event.

But Warner might want to check his sources. The next World Cup is not until 2018, in Russia, and the paper he holds up in the video is the Onion, a satirical U.S. publication.

The paper ran a spoof last week about how "frantic and visibly nervous" FIFA officials held an impromptu news conference after the corruption charges were filed to award the World Cup to America, beginning May 27.

"At press time, the U.S. national team was leading defending champions Germany in the World Cup's opening match after being awarded 12 penalties in the game's first three minutes,"

the paper reported. The suggestion was that nervous or corrupt referees would be keen to skew the match in the Americans' favor by awarding multiple penalties.

(Reporting by Peter Cooney; Editing by Frances Kerry)

 
Former FIFA Vice President Jack Warner addresses the audience during a ceremony in celebration of Indian Arrival Day organized by his political Independent Liberal Party in Chaguanas, Trinidad and Tobago, May 29, 2015. REUTERS/Andrea De Silva