Coombs not surprised with CONCACAF probe and findings
April 23, 2013

Coombs not surprised with CONCACAF probe and findings

President of the St Vincent and the Grenadines Football Federation Venold Coombs says he is not surprised at recent allegations concerning Austin “Jack” Warner.{{more}}

Warner, a former president of CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central America and the Caribbean Associations of Football) and the Caribbean Football Union, and a former FIFA vice president, is at the centre of a probe conducted by the confederation into allegations of impropriety. Former CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer is also being investigated.

The probe, which was carried out by former Chief Justice of Barbados Sir David Simmons, found that Warner did not disclose to CONCACAF that the US$25.9 million Centre of Excellence in Macoya in Trinidad, was built on lands owned by his companies.

Warner indicated last week in his native Trinidad and Tobago that former FIFA president Dr Joao Havelange had given him the Centre as a “gift” in 1996.

Coombs, who along with general secretary of the SVGFF Trevor Huggins and public relations officer, Earl Bennett, attended the CONCACAF congress in Panama last week, told SEARCHLIGHT on Sunday “I am not all surprised of what was revealed”.

Coombs said he had heard of some of the allegations before, but the probe had shown up some “startling revelations”.

It was reported that both Warner and Blazer did not co-operate with the investigation, which involved interviewing at least 38 persons and the perusal of a number of documents.

Simmons’ report pointed to the alleged mismanagement of CONCACAF funds and unauthorized spending, which is said to have run into millions of US dollars.

The SVGFF president was quick to point out that he once was a staunch supporter of Warner, and defended him at all costs; however, he was forced to change that stance over time.

Coombs was at the helm of the SVGFF in the 1980’s and felt the bite of Warner’s hands, when this country was suspended from the world governing body FIFA.

Warner stepped down from his substantive posts, regionally and internationally in 2011, following the cash-for-vote scandal, involving then FIFA presidential candidate Mohammad bin Hamman.

It was claimed then that Warner was aware that a stash of cash totalling US$40,000 was offered to Caribbean Football Union officials in return for their vote for bin Hamman.

Blazer, a close buddy of Warner, had turned whistle-blower, thus paving the way for the CONCACAF probe into both men’s operations.

Warner, who was Minister of National Security and member of Chaguanas West in Trinidad and Tobago, handed in his resignation last weekend to Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.(RT)