National Security Minister Jack Warner yesterday said he felt "relieved" and vindicated after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) annulled the FIFA-imposed lifetime ban on former FIFA presidential candidate, Mohamed Bin Hammam.
Warner, accompanied by his legal adviser attorney Om Lalla, who is currently a legal member of CAS, spoke on the issue at a media conference at the Ministry of National Security in Temple Court on Abercromby Street, Port of Spain, yesterday.
"I waited a little more than a year for this day and now I feel, not only in a sense relieved, but I feel comforted," Warner said, adding that a few friends, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, never lost faith in him during the difficult time.
Warner said if he had not resigned as FIFA vice president in June last year, he too would have been found not guilty by the CAS.
"But I was not prepared to go through this charade," Warner said.
Just over a year ago, both Warner and Bin Hammam were suspended from FIFA after reports alleged that several Caribbean Football Union (CFU) associates were offered bribes of US$40,000 during a meeting at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port of Spain last May.
Warner and Bin Hammam (who had challenged Sepp Blatter for the FIFA presidency), were accused of giving the bribes to delegates of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU).
No action was taken against Warner as he resigned his executive position while a lifetime ban was imposed against Bin Hammam.
"Very early, I said to you all wait and even today I tell you again, more is coming, so wait, guys, wait," he said.
Warner claimed current FIFA president Sepp Blatter controlled "every rung" of the internal FIFA ladder including the Ethics Committee. He said the only reason he did not stay and fight his case alongside Bin Hammam was because he "could not afford it".
"I felt, therefore, the best course was to leave FIFA alone. Look, I don't even want to go close to FIFA anymore. They send magazines, I don't even read them. I want nothing to do with them," Warner said.
He said in its 108 years of existence, FIFA has never lost an appeal or disciplinary hearing.
"I must go in that?" he asked, adding that FIFA was run on Blatter's hearsay and not by the law.
He said CAS, comprising of three "qualified judges", lifted the ban against Bin Hammam because they found FIFA's evidence to be "insufficient" to convict him.
"When you check that the head of FIFA Ethics Committee is Blatter's good friend and all of them who he hand-picked imposed a ban for life, three qualified judges said it was not so," he said.
"The crime committed in Blatter's eyes was that an opponent (Bin Hammam) was going against him to change the structure of FIFA. That is why I opposed Blatter in the election," he said.
"I was his right-hand man until I said enough was enough," he said.
Warner said he would "never" return to the world of football as long as Blatter sat at its helm.
"I left football, I dust my feet off football a year ago and that is a permanent position," he said.
"I want nothing from football and I do not expect to go back to football in the long term or the short term," he said.
Warner was magnanimous towards the CFU members that took Blatter's side during the height of the split between Blatter and himself.
"When last you hear anything about the CFU? I would say Father forgive them for they know not what they do," he said.
He said the CFU committee did not have the bigger countries under its purview anymore, which was Blatter's way of undermining the voting strength of a regional football confederation.
He predicted that because of this move, regional football had a "dim" future.
He said FIFA's "reprehensible conduct" was becoming "unmasked".
"And I will tell you that no weapon formed against me shall prosper, none whatsoever," he said.