Jack Warner would not say that former Caribbean Football Union (CFU) colleagues lied on him. Instead, when directly asked whether they told untruths during last year's football corruption scandal which saw bribery allegations brought against both the former vice-president of international football's governing body FIFA, and former FIFA presidential candidate Mohammed Bin Hammam, Warner, now the National Security Minister, said he pitied them (CFU officials).
Warner faced the media yesterday at a press conference at the Ministry following yesterday's decision by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) which annulled a FIFA life ban placed on Bin Hammam. The Court cited a lack of evidence for their decision.
Warner said allegations should be supported by evidence, and that he held no grudges against CFU officials whose allegations ultimately forced him to leave international football.
"My belief is that they (CFU officials) got incentives to say what they said," Warner declared.
Warner added that he was done with football and would only consider returning to the sport if current FIFA president Sepp Blatter stepped down.
Warner also spoke about the CONCACAF Centre of Excellence. He said his family bought the land from Norman Sabga, and after the sporting complex was built with FIFA funding, former FIFA president Joao Havelange gave it away as a gift.
"I have in my hand a letter which bequeaths it (CONCACAF Centre of Excellence) to the Caribbean and the Warner family," Warner said. "I have had it (the letter) for 22 years."
Yesterday, the CAS ruled 2-1 that there was not enough evidence to prove that Bin Hammam was the source of the US$1million brought into Trinidad and Tobago. Last May, Warner chaired a CFU meeting at which Bin Hammam was allowed to make his elections pitch to Caribbean football officials. Subsequently, both men were accused of offering US$40,000 bribes to those officials in exchange for votes in upcoming FIFA elections.
Warner quit all his international football posts, and FIFA dropped its investigations on the condition that he never return to football. At the time, FIFA stated: "As a consequence of Mr Warner's self-determined resignation, all ethics committee procedures against him have been closed and the presumption of innocence is maintained."
However, Bin Hammam maintained his innocence and fought a life ban which FIFA subsequently imposed on him.
Yesterday, Warner asked rhetorically: "When last have you heard anything about the CFU?"
He added that powerful Caribbean football nations like Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica have now been sidelined in favour of minnows such as Cayman Islands and St Lucia. Warner described CFU as a shadow of its former self.
"Blatter now has the CFU he wanted," Warner said.
Meanwhile, senior vice-president of the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (TTFF), Rudy Thomas said he was happy for Bin Hammam, but insisted the TTFF's focus is on carrying football forward in the country.
Speaking at a press conference at the Queen's Park Oval, in Port of Spain, yesterday, Thomas added: "The news just came out this morning (yesterday morning), so we have not spoken about it as an executive, so what I am saying is my personal view."
Head of marketing at the TTFF, Anthony Harford shared similar sentiments.
"My focus is to make sure football in Trinidad and Tobago moves forward."
—With reporting by