Former CONCACAF president Jack Warner requested that the English Football Association (FA) clear a US$233,500-debt owed by the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) as a means of sweetening the country’s bidding process for the 2018 World Cup – the Garcia Report alleges.
According to a section of the 350-page report, Warner, also a former FIFA vice president, was approached by a Neville Pennant in 2010, who requested that the official use his influence to get the debt for the cash-strapped administration cleared.
“Jamaica owes the English FA 215,000 USD and another 18500 USD to a private English firm. You are one of the most powerful men in Football and the English FA were at our CFU Congress. Mr Warner is it possible for you to ask the English FA to waive Jamaica debt. This is an emergency,” the report quotes Pennant as saying.
Warner, who was banned for life from the sport in 2015 after resigning from his world football post in 2011 in the wake of the infamous cash-for-votes scandal, is said to have forwarded the message to then Football Association chairman, Lord Triesman and England 2018 Director of Campaign Operations Jane Bateman.
“I crave your kindness and understanding in having the debt of the JFF to your FA be written off in the Jamaican Federation’s efforts at survival.”
Triesman seemed to respond favourably to the request. “I can understand the problem and it does need a solution,” he responded. “I’ll see our people next Monday and talk through possibilities so please forgive me for not responding faster.”
The document, however, goes on to state that it was uncertain whether Warner’s correspondence with the FA had anything to do with the debt being eventually cleared. Then president of the JFF Captain Horace Burrell had announced in 2012 that the debt was cleared following “a fruitful meeting” between the parties, which had included FA chairman David Bernstein. The FA had previously extended the loan schedule in 2008 when it agreed to defer collection until after the South Africa World Cup 2010.
The debt had been incurred during a two-match tour of England back in 2006 when the then Crenston Boxhill-led JFF failed to turn over its agreed portion of sales from 9,118 tickets allotted to sell to Jamaican fans for the June 3, 2006, friendly international game at Old Trafford.