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Jun 20, 2011

Warner resigns from FIFA post

FIFA have confirmed that vice president Jack Warner has resigned from all his positions in international football and that an investigation into bribery allegations against him have been dropped.

Warner, who was also head of the CONCACAF federation, had been suspended along with Asian federation chief Mohamed bin Hammam over accusations of bribery during the presidential election.

World football's governing body said the investigation against Warner, the longest-serving member of FIFA's executive committee, had "been closed and the presumption of innocence is maintained''.

FIFA released a statement which read: "Jack A. Warner has informed FIFA about his resignation from his posts in international football. FIFA regrets the turn of events that have led to Mr Warner's decision.

"His resignation has been accepted by world football's governing body, and his contribution to international football and to Caribbean football in particular and the CONCACAF confederation are appreciated and acknowledged.

"Mr Warner is leaving FIFA by his own volition after nearly 30 years of service, having chosen to focus on his important work on behalf of the people and government of Trinidad & Tobago as a Cabinet Minister and as the Chairman of the United National Congress, the major party in his country's coalition government.

"The FIFA executive committee, the FIFA president and the FIFA management thank Mr Warner for his services to Caribbean, CONCACAF and international football over his many years devoted to football at both regional and international level, and wish him well for the future.

"As a consequence of Mr Warner's self-determined resignation, all ethics committee procedures against him have been closed and the presumption of innocence is maintained.''

However, Damian Collins, the Tory MP who has been campaigning for FIFA reforms, condemned the decision to drop the investigation into Warner.

He said: ''This just shows FIFA can't be trusted to do it by themselves. The whole investigation has been a complete farce. There have been stories of countries refusing to take part in the inquiry. Jack Warner has gone from protesting his innocence to resigning from FIFA, who now drop the inquiry into him.

''There has been no proper investigation by FIFA - that's the most serious thing. It's a bigger question than Jack Warner's role, it's about the integrity of the organisation. I don't see why this should be the end of the investigation just because he has resigned.''

Warner and Bin Hammam were suspended last month after they were accused of giving or offering bribes of $40,000 to the 25 members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU). The total sum involved was $1 million according to a report to the FIFA ethics committee.

Affidavits sent to the ethics committee testify that Warner told the CFU members at the special meeting in Trinidad on May 10 and 11 the cash had been provided by Bin Hammam, who was then running for FIFA president.

Bahamas FA vice-president Fred Lunn said he had been given the cash in a brown envelope which he photographed before returning.

Lunn said in his affidavit that the following day "Mr Warner stated that he had instructed Mr Bin Hammam to bring the cash equivalent of any gift he had intended to bring for the people attending this meeting.

"Mr Warner then stated that the money could be used for any purpose... for grassroots programs or any purpose the individuals saw fit.''

The president of the Surinam FA, Louis Giskus, also confirmed earlier this month that he was given $40,000 in a brown envelope as a gift. A number of other associations have told investigators that they too were given the cash. Some kept it, others returned the money.

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