ZURICH (Reuters) - Trinidadian Jack Warner, once one of the most powerful men in world soccer, has been banned from all football-related activities for life, the ethics committee of the global governing body FIFA said on Tuesday.
In the biggest corruption scandal to hit the sport, Warner and 13 other soccer officials and sports marketing executives were indicted in the United States on May 27 on bribery, money laundering and wire fraud charges involving more than $150 million in payments.
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,” the ethics committee said.
CONCACAF is the governing body for soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, which Warner headed from 1990 to 2011. He also sat on FIFA’s executive committee for 28 years.
“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,” the committee said.
Warner accused FIFA, whose president Sepp Blatter was last week placed under criminal investigation by Swiss authorities, of trying to distract attention from its own problems.
“If FIFA wants to ban me for life without even a hearing, then so be it,” he said in a statement.
“I do not believe, however, that this will serve as the distraction to the FIFA’s present problems as the FIFA wishes it to be. Given what is happening in Zurich with Sepp Blatter, I guess that there is no such thing as a coincidence.”
The ethics committee said Warner was investigated following an inquiry into the bidding process for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. The tournaments were awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively in December 2010 by the FIFA executive committee, of which he was a member.
Warner was found guilty of violating ethics code articles on general rules of conduct, loyalty, duty of disclosure, conflicts of interest, the offering and acceptance of gifts and of failing to collaborate with the ethics committee.
Warner is currently in his native Trinidad and Tobago, where he is fighting extradition to the United States.
Editing by Mark Trevelyan