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Life ban from football a FIFA diversion, says ex-VP

Xinhua, September 30, 2015 Adjust font size:

Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner Tuesday said his life ban from football is meant to divert attention from the real problems plaguing the world soccer body.

"If ... the FIFA wants to ban me for life without even a hearing, then so be it. I do not believe, however, that this will serve as the distraction to the FIFA's present problems, as the FIFA wishes it to be," the Trinidad Daily Express cited Warner as saying in a statement.

Earlier, the Swiss-based International Federation of Associated Football (FIFA) issued a press release announcing Warner, who has been charged with corruption, was banned from football for life.

FIFA's "Ethics Committee ... has decided to ban the former FIFA Vice-President and Executive Committee member as well as CONCACAF President, Mr. Jack Warner, from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for life," the organization said.

The decision came after FIFA's own investigation "into the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup bidding process" uncovered irregularities, the organization said.

"Mr. Warner was found to have committed many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official in different high-ranking and influential positions at FIFA and CONCACAF.

"In his positions as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, as well as other money-making schemes," FIFA concluded, saying the ban was effective as of Sept. 25, 2015, "the date on which the present decision was notified."

In his statement, Warner said, "Given what is happening in (FIFA headquarters) Zurich with Sepp Blatter, I guess that there is no such thing as a coincidence."

Blatter, the head of FIFA, is also under investigation by U.S. and most recently Swiss authorities for his role in bribery at the world body. The Swiss announced their probe on Friday.

Warner had been arrested in Trinidad and Tobago on charges of bribery and corruption in relation to FIFA-organized World Cup games, and released on bail. Endi