Embattled and former football supremo, Jack Warner, has launched a US$40 million counter suit against continental governing body, CONCACAF, and FIFA Council member Sunil Gulati, for “persistent defamation of character.”In response to a US$20 million lawsuit filed against him last week by CONCACAF in a US Federal Court, the 74-year-old said he had no choice but to instruct his lawyers to initiate legal proceedings.
He argued in a statement that the most recent corruption allegations made against him were “repetitive and ancient”, and said he would fight to protect his name and that of his family “to the very end.”
“I have been slaughtered for the past six years and have remained silent, ignoring my legal options to respond to the atrocities that have been perpetrated against me by men of the lower ilk,” Warner said. “And so the time has come for me to respond and hence the lawsuit against CONCACAF and Gulati in his personal capacity.”
Only last week, CONCACAF moved to recover millions of dollars the organization claimed had been obtained by Warner and former general secretary, American Chuck Blazer through corruption.
The lawsuit comes against the backdrop of ongoing efforts by the United States Department of Justice to have Warner extradited from his native Trinidad and Tobago to also face charges of racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies.
However, Warner said the most recent lawsuit was simply more trumped up charges stemming from old grouses, and was nothing but a means of distracting from the under-achievements of the organisation in recent times.
He also slammed Gulati, the president of the US Soccer Federation and who also serves as one of CONCACAF’s three members of the FIFA Council.
“The vindictiveness of CONCACAF’s de jure President Sunil Gulati (not its figurehead Canadian de facto President Victor Montagliani) is what is taking the CONCACAF down a very dangerous path,” Warner charged.
“All these false allegations filed in an American Court simply because the USA did not obtain the votes to host a FIFA World Cup will fall to nought.” He added: “I have left the CONCACAF since 2011.
Why the CONCACAF will not leave my family and me alone is simply mind-boggling.
“CONCACAF football is at its lowest today and the current threat to sue Warner and Blazer for 20 million US is nothing more than a distraction to shift its pathetic current state away from the management of this Confederation.
“The quality of CONCACAF football that is being viewed is much lower than that which is being played in second and third tier divisions across Europe and fans across CONCACAF are no longer even excited about the chances of our teams within this Confederation at the upcoming FIFA World Cup.”
Warner led CONCACAF and the Caribbean Football Union for 21 years and became also became a powerful FIFA vice-president before resigning both posts amidst the torrid cash-for-votes scandal in 2011.
He described CONCACAF as now “fractured” and said he did not expect the current state of affairs to change because of those who now controlled the organisation.
“This will never improve because of the bitterness of those who have destroyed the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) and who currently hold the reins of power in a fractured CONCACAF,” Warner continued.
“It will also never improve because of disappointment among those who still cannot get over the fact that the world did not see the US as an attractive venue to host a FIFA World Cup in 2022.
“So the current attack on Jack Warner to them is seen as par for the course and a plausible distraction for their failures at the management of football.”