Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner posted a defense against charges of corruption by referring to an article from The Onion, seemingly unaware that it was a satirical news story. Warner's comments came in a video posted on his blog.
An indictment unveiled last week by the U.S. Justice Department accused several current and former FIFA officials, including Warner, of corruption, bribery and racketeering. Corruption allegations have dogged Warner for almost two decades.
In the video, Warner cites an article from The Onion, titled, “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States,” and says it is proof that the arrests were part of a conspiracy by the United States to undermine the world body.
“All this has stemmed from the failed U.S. bid to host the World Cup,” Warner says, holding up a printed copy of the article. “The U.S. applied to hold the World Cup in 2022 and they lost the bid to Qatar — a small country, an Arabic country, a Muslim country,” he adds.
Warner, who is also the leader of Trinidad and Tobago’s Independent Liberal Party as well as the head of the Concacaf regional football body, was removed from FIFA four years ago amid another bribery scandal, in an incident that he blamed on “Zionism.”
He also suggests, in the video, that the latest arrests were part of a Washington-led plot to force the removal of Russia as host of the 2018 World Cup. “If FIFA is so bad, why is it U.S.A wants to keep the FIFA World Cup?” he asks in the video, as dramatic music swells in the background. Warner also says in the video that he was heartened by the support he had received from his friends.
“I am consoled by the fact that many of you on the blogs, on Twitter, on Facebook...are very supportive of me.
“You see, it is not when you’re up that you know who your friends are, it is when you’re perceived to be down,” he adds. “And some of the persons who I thought were my friends, today I realized -- I was a dreamer. They were not.”
The video was uploaded again a few hours later with all references to The Onion article edited out.