Jack Warner: The Comeback

Admit it. You all thought that my continuing to write about Jack Warner was at least a little pointless.

The man is toast, done, out of the game forever, right? Sure he's still got some political pull in T&T and so he'll never end up in the prison cell he so richly deserves, but so what?

At least he's out of football, and that's all we really care about. Right?


A few months back, when Sepp Blatter illegally summoned the Presidents of the CFU federations to Zurich so he could lay down the law and then discovered that he had no authority to do so and instead ordered them to convene an unconstitutional "Special Congress" on 18 hours notice, it all seemed remarkably clear.

Horace Burrell of Jamaica was going to take over CONCACAF, Jeffrey Webb of the Cayman Islands was getting the ExCo seat and the CFU would go to the highest bidder.

Blatter even arranged to put Burrell on the CFU "Normalization Committee" - which was to be chaired by his friend and business partner Jeff Webb - after his suspension was up in mid-January.

So on the very day that his laughable "punishment" was over, Burrell announced that he was running for President of CONCACAF.

Then, about a month later, Burrell suddenly announced that he had decided Caribbean football needed him so desperately that he was dropping his CONCACAF campaign, endorsing his good friend Jeff Webb for the job and declaring his candidacy foor President of the CFU, a position he had previously said he wasn't interested in.

FIFA has begun referring to Webb as "President-Elect" of CONCACAF, a remarkable construct considering that the election won't be held until May 22, but no matter.

Now that the filing deadline has passed and Webb is the only one on the ballot - at FIFA, some traditions never die - the actual vote is just a formality.

Webb is who FIFA wanted and Burrell would just have to console himself with being President of the CFU.

To make certain that Burrell's path to the Presidency was a smooth one, Webb's Committee drafted a new set of election rules which, they assured us, were designed to inject a healthy dose of "democracy and transparency" into the process.

Which would be welcome, certainly, but to the casual observer all the new rules did was eliminate Burrell's competition.

For example, one new rule said that only one candidate could be on the ballot from any one country, which neatly eliminated the main reform candidate who, coincidentally I'm sure, was from Jamaica as is Captain Burrell.

Another new rule said that in order to be on the ballot you had to be nominated by your own country, not someone else's, which eliminated the candidacy of Jack Warner's stand-in stooge, 80 year old Trindadian toadbag Fred Taylor, whom the T&TFF refused to nominate.

Then, in April, Burrell, the President of the Jamaica FA, hastily called the media into his office and announced that, because he wanted to dedicate himself more fully to the goals and aspirations of Jamaican football, he was sadly giving up his candidacy for President of the CFU and tossing his support to, yes, his good friend Jeff Webb.

If you're keeping score at home, that's Jeff Webb 3, Horace Burrell 0.

Remember back when everyone agreed the best way to prevent a return to the kind of dictatorial power monopoly that Jack Warner once held was to split up the important positions so that no one guy could hold all the cards?

Well forget that. In a little over a week, Jeff Webb of the Cayman Islands, population 54,000, a country whose national team has earned exactly three points total in the last five World Cup cycles (all on draws) will be one of the most powerful men in world football:

FIFA Vice President, Executive Committee member, CONCACAF President and CFU President. It's a clean sweep and a done deal.


Jack Warner has other ideas.

You'll recall that the T&T Fed has been cut off from all FIFA money because they can't account for the Haitian Hurricane Relief money Warner stole.

And if you've been following the story you also know that the entire Federation leadership is about to be thrown in jail for refusing to sue Warner over his theft of the player's share of the 2006 World Cup monies.

As a result, the T&TFF has no financial support at all aside from the yearly stipend the get from the Ministry of Sport. It's not a lot, but it's the only thing they have.

So Jack, in his role as a government minister and head of the ruling party, threatened to cut off their last financial lifeline unless they nominated Fred for President of the CFU.

In other words, if they didn't give Jack what he wanted, he would shut down the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation.

Now to you and I this might very well look like a violation of the deal Warner made with FIFA to never, ever involve himself in football governance in any way shape or form.

Which would, in turn, be cause for the Ethics committee to re-open the case against him, which they swore they would do if he ever even thought about messing around in the game again.

But you shouldn't hold your breath.

Now at this point you might rightly ask: so what?

After all that's happened in the last 12 months, all the proceedings, all the revelations, all the "reform" in Zurich, who in their right mind would be in favor of putting Jack Warner - through his own personal sock puppet - back in charge of Caribbean Football?

Well, these guys for one.

Taylor is now on a whirlwind tour of the region, fully financed by Jack Warner, lining up votes the old fashioned way:

Buying them.

What, you were thinking maybe this 80 year old lifetime Warner lapdog was running around the Caribbean appealing to everyone's higher morality or something?

Screw that. Much easier to just deliver bags of Jack's money.

So the question is: can Warner actually bribe enough guys to get taylor elected so that he can then move CFU HQ back to his old offices in Port of Spain and get back to business as usual?

Who knows?

He clearly can't buy off places like Jamaica, The Bahamas, Burmuda or Puerto Rico. He probably won't even try.

But there are enough two-mule organizations like St. Maarten for whom a small sack of US $100 bills is more than enough to sway their vote to make it interesting.