Indicted Former FIFA VP Cites ‘The Onion’ to Attack U.S.

Jack Warner
The Associated Press

Former FIFA VP Jack Warner, indicted along with eight other FIFA officials and five corporate executives for racketeering, wire fraud, and money laundering, unwittingly used a satiric quote from The Onion as serious fodder to attack the United States, whose attorney general had filed the corruption charges.

Last Wednesday, The Onion headlined an article “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup in United States.” The joke article, conveying the idea that FIFA’s corrupt officials would attempt to bribe their way out of prosecution by bringing the World Cup immediately to the U.S., concluded, “At press time, the U.S. national team was leading defending champions Germany in the World Cup’s opening match after being awarded 12 penalties in the game’s first three minutes.”

On Sunday, Warner released a video on his Facebook page protesting his innocence of the corruption charges and asking how so many FIFA officials could be charged while Sepp Blatter, the FIFA president, won reelected.

Holding up a copy of The Onion article, he said:

If I was so bad, and if FIFA was so bad, how come the head of FIFA is not? … And then I look to see that FIFA has frantically announced 2015—2015, this year—an Olympic final in the World Cup beginning May 27. If FIFA is so bad, why is it the USA wants to keep the FIFA World Cup? Why is it they’ve begun games on May 27—May 27, two days before the FIFA election? Why is it the U.S. authorities sought to embarrass FIFA in Zurich? Something has to be wrong.”

Later on Sunday, the video was removed; another video sans Onion reference was substituted, but the original video had already been copied to YouTube.

Warner remains a member of parliament in Trinidad and Tobago. He launched the Independent Liberal Party two years ago when the United National Congress did not nominate him to stand for reelection. Warner, aside from serving as a FIFA VP, reigned as president of the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) from 1990 to 2011.