x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Concacaf corruption report claims Australian centre of excellence money 'stolen' by Jack Warner

Australian football chiefs have demanded answers after the damning integrity report into Caribbean football claimed more than Dh1.6m donated to set up a centre of excellence in the region was siphoned off by the disgraced former Fifa vice president.

Former Fifa vice president Jack Warner.
Former Fifa vice president Jack Warner.

Australian football chiefs have demanded answers after a damning report claimed a $462,000 (Dh1.69m) donation made to a Caribbean football organisation was allegedly stolen by disgraced former Fifa kingpin Jack Warner.

The incident was detailed in a integrity report by the Caribbean, North and Central American international football body, Concacaf, that accuses Warner of enriching himself through fraud.

The report, compiled by several former judges into the financial management of Concacaf, relates to when the former Fifa vice president headed the organisation.

It said FFA paid a cheque into a Caribbean bank account maintained by Concacaf in 2010 to help the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation improve a centre of excellence (COE).

The donation was part of Australia's attempt to demonstrate its international football credentials during its failed bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

But the account was allegedly controlled by Warner, who quit Fifa in 2011 after being accused of paying bribes, headed the organisation. who pocketed the money and never declared it to the governing body, the report said.

"The committee concluded that Warner committed fraud and misappropriated funds that were sent by Football Federation Australia to Concacaf for development of the COE," the integrity report said.

"(He) breached his fiduciary duties to Concacaf through fraud and misappropriation of funds."

Warner, who stepped down as Concacaf president in 2011, denies any wrongdoing but resigned as Trinidad and Tobago's minister of security over the weekend.

A spokesman for the Football Federation Australia said the cash had been donated with "complete transparency", and Australian football authorities only became aware it had allegedly been misused when the Concacaf report came out over the weekend.

"FFA is currently considering the findings of the Concacaf Integrity Committee report," said the spokesman.

"FFA has assisted Concacaf in this investigation and yesterday wrote to Concacaf regarding next steps."

He said the funding "related to the mandatory Fifa World Cup bidding criteria".

"FFA was required to demonstrate its credentials in the area of international development," he said, adding that all funding was reported to the Australian government.

Despite a $45 million (Dh170m) grant from the government and intense lobbying, Australia managed to secure just one vote when the Fifa executive committee decided the 2022 hosts, with Qatar winning the hosting rights instead.

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