US out to hurt FIFA after losing 2022 World Cup bid’

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San Juan, May 30 (IANS/EFE) Former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner said the corruption charges US prosecutors filed against him and 13 other people are in retaliation to the failure of America’s bid to host the 2022 World Cup.

“The Americans are trying to put the hurt on FIFA since they did not get the World Cup in 2022. It is personal,” Warner said at a news conference on Friday in his native Trinidad and Tobago.

Trinidadian authorities detained Warner on Wednesday after receiving a request from the US for provisional arrest pending extradition on the charges announced in New York earlier that day.

Warner left custody in Port-of-Spain late Thursday after posting bail of TT$2.5 million (about $394,000).

The 72-year-old businessman and politician said that even if he, in his then-capacity as president of regional association CONCACAF, had voted in favour of the US when the World Cup selection was made, the bid would have still failed.

“They got three votes. Even if I had gone down on my knees and they got six, they still would have lost. They don’t understand in the world there are parts of this world that do not like America, I have nothing to do with that,” Warner said.

Warner, who has proclaimed his innocence, accused the US justice department of having embarked on an “evidential witch hunt”.

“America believes that they have some divine right to get a World Cup and they do not believe that a country like Qatar, a small country, a Muslim country, has the right to a World Cup,” he said.

Warner also accused the Trinidadian government of colluding with Washington to bring about his political demise.

“I am saying that is part of a whole programme by the government to win an election,” he added.

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