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FIFA More Than Jack Warner

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While The Kick Project welcomes the decision to remove ex-FIFA Vice-President and head of CONCACAF, Jack Warner from any official role in the world football family, we would caution that this is not enough. While Mr Warner appears to have dragged the game through the mud in the quest for personal aggrandisement, we feel his story should not be allowed to act as a diversion nor should he be a sacrificial lamb. By all accounts, FIFA corruption goes deeper than even Mr Warner's voluminous pockets.

FIFA claims that "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,"

But Mr. Warner took himself out of FIFA four years ago and resigned all his official positions. It's no surprise he is non-plussed by the ban. He is reported to have said on Facebook, "if in September 2015 (some 4 years and 5 months after) the FIFA wants to ban me for life without even a hearing then so be it." Why wasn't he sacked before? How did FIFA's ethics mechanisms miss his dark dealings?

In big organisations such as FIFA, culture is important. When things go rotten at the top, the rot spreads quickly throughout the whole body. Corrupt officials won't hire the type of people who might be concerned with ethics, for instance, and money goes to those who are compliant with the system, not those asking niggly questions. The result is that unethical behaviour gets rewarded and everything goes from bad to worse. As the old saying goes, a fish rots from the head first.

The US authorities pursuing the case against 14 FIFA officials say there's $150 million in graft money in play. A big fish indeed.

FIFA corruption appears, unfortunately, to go deeper than the higher realms where odious figures like Mr Warner dwell (dwelt).

Without cultural change at the world football body, Mr Warner's after-the-horse-has-bolted dismissal means little beyond a headline for a day or two.

When Sepp Blatter finally leaves behind FIFA, early next year (although it appears unclear that will in fact occur), the world football family may get a chance to get its game back. Returning the people's game to the grassroots, using funds from such events as the World Cup to support the game rather than the lifestyle of its officials, will hopefully be the outcome.

Unfortunately, saying good riddance to Mr Warner looks more ironic than iconic in relation to football's future. We in the football family must not allow this to be a veil to cover a lack of progress at FIFA.


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