14 Sep 2015

Blatter and Warner accused of rights fraud

2:46 pm on 14 September 2015

Swiss media has alleged that FIFA president Sepp Blatter sold World Cup television rights at knockdown prices to disgraced former FIFA vice-president Jack Warner.

Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner (left) and outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter.

Former FIFA vice president Jack Warner (left) and outgoing FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Photo: Photosport

Citing an Australian anti-corruption expert, the Swiss television channel SRF has alleged that Blatter signed off the screening rights for 2010 and 2014 tournaments for $NZ950,000 - a mere five percent of their true market value.

At the time of the deal in 2005, Warner was flying high in world football as FIFA vice-president and boss of football's governing body in North America, Central America and the Caribbean (CONCACAF).

His fortunes have since plummeted and he is now fighting extradition from his native Trinidad and Tobago to the United States after being named in the FIFA corruption probe rocking world football.

Warner was arrested by Trinidad authorities after the United States indicted him and 13 other football officials and marketing executives for corruption.

The SRF program published a contract signed by Blatter selling TV rights for the 2010 World Cup for $US250,000 and the 2014 edition for $US350,000 to Warner.

According to Australian Jaimie Fuller, a FIFA anti-corruption expert interviewed by the program, those amounts "are around 5 per cent of the market value".

The SRF program was noteworthy for being the first time to show Blatter's signature on a contract, Fuller claimed.

FIFA has been embroiled in a major corruption scandal since the arrest of seven of its officials on May 27 attending a FIFA congress in Zurich to elect a new president.

They are among 14 people charged by US authorities over more than $US150 million in bribes given for television and marketing deals.

Despite the arrests in May the election went ahead with Blatter winning a fifth mandate although he then announced he would be standing down with a new election scheduled for February.