Fink: Tsunami Jack can't touch Sepp

ESPNSTAR.com columnist Jesse Fink feels that FIFA's Jack Warner has finally met his match after coming up short against FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

FIFA: Jack Warner

He was for a long time pejoratively known as "Teflon Jack". Perhaps it's time he was known as "Tsunami Jack" after Jack Warner came good on his longstanding promise to unleash hell on FIFA and its president Sepp Blatter. 

The combustible Warner, who used to be the big boss of the Caribbean, Central American and North American confederation commonly called CONCACAF, is not going away quietly after being forced out of football for his role in the Port of Spain "bribes" affair. 

He's always had a big mouth, and huffed and blustered before, but up till this week never really came up with the goods to match his rhetoric. 

The allegation that he bought the 1998 World Cup TV rights for his home nation of Trinidad & Tobago for the princely sum of $1 in return for supporting Blatter in that year's election is startling, but not new. Former FIFA general secretary Michel Zen-Ruffinen first raised the $1-for-TV-rights allegation back in 2002.

Warner further claims he was sold the rights for subsequent World Cups in appreciation of his fidelity to Blatter. 

Now Warner is no saint, having been a first-class passenger on the Zurich gravy train for years and having shown no willingness to get off it until an ethics committee probe into Port of Spain forced his hand.

He remains a contemptible figure in the eyes of the FIFA reform movement, spearheaded by the grassroots organisation ChangeFIFA, for the way he abused his office for his own ends. 

But his allegation must be treated seriously and investigated fully with an eye to a possible ethics committee probe into Blatter himself. 

The problem is: Then what? To put it bluntly: FIFA's investigative processes are a joke. 

Blatter has come under the scrutiny of the "eth-co" before, for failing to report his knowledge that Mohamed Bin Hammam, who was running against him in the 2011 presidential election, was allegedly planning to bribe Caribbean Football Union officials in Port of Spain.

He was let off because he had to have proof the alleged bribes were received before reporting it. Knowledge that bribes might be paid and not reporting it is apparently considered okay. 

His unauthorised donation of $1 million to CONCACAF in Miami (a subject Warner also raised again this week) in May that year was not even considered serious enough to investigate, even though Bin Hammam got turfed out of football for life for his "gift" of the same amount of money to Caribbean Football Union delegates the following week in Trinidad. 

More recently, Thailand's executive committee member Worawi Makudi wasn't even referred to the "eth-co" despite brave whistleblowers in Thailand furnishing FIFA with cut-and-dry documents that showed he had his name on title deeds to land that had been developed with FIFA grants when it was supposed to have been transferred long before to the Thailand Football Association.

FIFA accepted an unwitnessed "letter of intent" from Makudi in 2003 as evidence Makudi had done nothing wrong. 

The brutal truth is FIFA has failed time and time again to take action against big-time officials who have power and influence when there is compelling information that wrongs may have been perpetrated. 

When it comes to small-time officials, though, or officials who threaten the status quo, ways are found to remove them expeditiously and maintain the perception that it is serious about "cleaning up the house".

It is selective application of justice. The same charge Warner was levelling against FIFA back in October: "A perceived right to do all in its power, right or wrong, to defend its own."

Nothing has changed. 

So while an investigation into Blatter should take place immediately, and may well happen, chances are he'll only emerge from this stronger.

Nobody, not even Tsunami Jack, is a match for Untouchable Sepp.



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