Warner: "The Tape Was Doctored"

The one constant character trait which has served Jack Warner so well lo these many years has been his utter lack of shame. Time after time he's been caught red-handed in acts which would cause a lesser man to cower in humiliation; from looting CONCACAF's budget to build himself a largely unused palace in Trinidad to selling twice as many tickets to a US vs T&T match than there were seats to openly stealing the millions of dollars owed to his national team players to selling over 5000 World Cup tickets through his personal travel agency, the list goes on and on and on.

The one thing you could absolutely depend on was that when the dust settled Jack Warner would tell everyone that it wasn't true, it never happened, it's all a lie, a plot, an attack by his enemies.

So when someone came up with a video recording of him discussing illegal payments with his assembled minions, we should have assumed that Jack would make the most shameless response this side of "the dog ate my homework":

It's a fake.

He also says that he "knows" who made the recording - but then it doesn't take the skills of Sherlock Holmes to figure that one out; just ask yourself who might have felt like he needed some evidence to back him up if he ended up having to go to the mat with the all powerful President of CONCACAF.

We're indebted to BigSoccer near-deity Pablo Chicago for the hilarious news that Uncle Jack says he didn't actually say those things and, what's more, we can add this to the ever-lengthening list of things which he will "prove" someday when he finally brings that Tsunami he's been promising.

Warming to his theme for Stabroek News in Barbados, he said:

“I know who made it, son, I know who did everything, I know the timing and so on, but why all you so precipitate?”

“Wait nah man, wait.”

“When I am prepared to speak (in detail) the whole world will listen.”

Asked why was he refusing to speak, Warner responded sharply: “I am not refusing to speak. Why should I speak when bin Hammam has a case? Why should I in any way jeopardise his position?”

The rest of his comments are pretty run-of-the-mill at this point: it's all an assault by FIFA on the poor defenseless CFU, which is being used as a scapegoat by the international Swiss conspiracy, which wants to use all of this as a showpiece so that they can pretend that they're actually trying to clean up FIFA instead of simply covering their own butts.

Actually, of course, there's a substantial element of truth in that last part, which coincidentally provides another example of how far gone the utterly clueless one-man-band personal ego trip who calls himself "ChangeFIFA" is, having tweeted the other day that FIFA is announcing the results of this week's hearings on Friday to avoid publicity, adding "probably at 5 PM as usual", as if FIFA was the BATF doing another document dump.

The first question would be "name me one time - just one - when the Ethics Committee announced any decision on a Friday?". As far as I can recall, it has never happened before, at 5 PM (and would that be Central European time or are they holding it for Eastern Standard, which would make it 11 PM in Zurich, way past Jerome Valcke's bedtime) or any other time.

The problem is that he's got it 100% backwards: FIFA doesn't want to hide these rulings, they want to shout them from the top of Mont Blanc in the hopes that - as Warner accurately says - it will create the impression that FIFA is cleaning house.

Furthermore, there's a very good reason why FIFA wants these hearing and verdicts happening right now: because in less than two weeks Sepp Blatter will be presenting his long-awaited "Reform Program" to the Executive Committee and the world.

In preparation for this world-shattering event, Blatter is greatly beefing up his PR staff. The linked article from the always worthwhile WorldFootballInsider says that the extra media muscle will be needed to handle the "backlash" on the theory that the world will be outraged when they see how weak and ineffectual the new reforms are.

Perhaps they're right, but I don't believe Sepp thinks that way; I believe he's bringing in the hired guns because he sees this as a sales job, wherein he convinces the media that whatever he's doing will be tough and effective.

On the other hand, them BBC ran a fascinating (albeit brief) interview with none other than Chuck Blazer the other day that unfortunately - and inexplicably - went almost totally ignored wherein for maybe the first time anywhere an ExCo member spoke discouraging words regarding a Blatter initiative; when asked if the upcoming changes are likely to make a difference, he replied:

"Absolutely not, they won't come close"

Then after pointing out how Swiss-centric the FIFA hierarchy is, he had a simple description of the problem and the solution:

"Blatter should be talking to a broader base"

"The days of tablets of stone being delivered from the mountain should be gone. He isn't Moses.

The structure at the moment revolves around national associations. We have to bring other interests into Fifa - clubs, leagues, referees, women. None of these are represented in the executive committee.

"If the issue is cleaning things up, we need a balance of competing interests. We need a broadening of the system."

One thing you can bet the ranch on however is this:

Whatever Sepp comes up with it won't apply retroactively.

When the Ethics process was established in 2007, the problem wasn't that the rules didn't go far enough. Rather it was that it etched into marble the principle that the previous 20 years of misdeeds and crimes were to be permanently beyond the reach of the committee.

Just last Summer, in an effort to appear like he honestly wanted some changes, Blatter asked Transparency International to make some recommendations.

The first one boiled down, not surprisingly, to "more transparency" but the second was to make the Ethics Committee truly independent and empower it to look at whatever interested it, past or present and go where the evidence led.

At which point Sepp stopped talking to them.