Disgraced former FIFA official Jack Warner made a profit of around £11million on World Cup television rights that Sepp Blatter sold him for a fraction of their true value, it can be revealed.
Swiss television channel SRF has published a contract that Blatter signed off in 2005 for the broadcast rights for South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014 to be sold to the Warner-controlled Caribbean Football Union (CFU) for $600,000 (£389,000).
Investigations by Press Association Sport have shown that Warner, at that time CFU’s president, sub-licensed those rights to his own Cayman Islands-registered company J & D International (JDI). In 2007, JDI sold on the rights to Jamaica-based cable TV station SportsMax for a value that the broadcaster reported on its own website as being between $18-20 million (£11.7-13m).
The revelations highlight the questionable relationship between the outgoing FIFA president Blatter and Warner, his one-time backer and Caribbean powerbroker.
According to court documents in the Cayman Islands, Jeffrey Webb – Warner’s successor as president of the CONCACAF confederation – was a director of JDI at the time of the deal. Both Webb and Warner are facing corruption charges in the United States.
FIFA’s deal with the CFU included an agreement for a 50 per cent share of any profits from sub-contracting the rights but few if any payments from profit share were ever made by Warner and in July 2011, a month after he resigned from FIFA following bribery allegations, FIFA terminated its contract with the CFU.
It was not the first time FIFA had given Warner TV rights for a knockdown price – in 1998 he was awarded the 2002 World Cup TV rights for Trinidad and Tobago for just one dollar, a practice that had begun under Blatter’s predecessor Joao Havelange.
Warner’s JDI also sold the 2006 World Cup rights to the Caribbean for $4.25m in 2001.
Warner is currently fighting extradition from Trinidad to the USA where he has been indicted by the US justice department on football-related corruption charges.
US attorney general Loretta Lynch is due to provide the latest details on the FIFA investigation at a news conference in Zurich on Monday. Webb is currently on bail in New York, as is former FIFA member Chuck Blazer who has admitted to taking a share of a $10m bribe to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.
Swiss attorney general Michael Lauber is also due to speak at the news conference to give details on the separate investigation into the 2018 and 2022 World Cup votes.
The SRF programme published a contract signed by Blatter showing the TV rights for the 2010 World Cup had been sold for $250,000 and the 2014 tournament for $350,000 to the Warner-controlled CFU.
FIFA responded by issuing a statement saying: “On 12 September 2005, FIFA signed a contract with the Caribbean Football Union regarding TV broadcasting rights.
“Under the terms of this agreement FIFA was to receive a fixed licensing fee as well as a 50 per cent share of any profits related to the subcontracting of these rights.
“The CFU made several breaches to the contract and failed to meet its financial obligations. The obligations concerning the required pre-approval for subcontracting were not met either.
“For these reasons, FIFA terminated its contract with the CFU on 25 July 2011.”