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CONCACAF president Warner is censured and could be dropped from FIFA board.
ZURICH (Saturday, February 18, 2006) -- Jack Warner, vice president of world governing body FIFA and president of CONCACAF, the United States' confederation, could be kicked off FIFA's governing board after the organization's ethics and sportsmanship committee found him guilty of a major ethics violation in connection to selling tickets to Trinidad & Tobago's World Cup matches in Germany this summer.
In what has been seen by many as a conflict of interest, Warner has served as a special adviser to the Trinidad & Tobago Football Federation, which is a CONCACAF member. According to media reports, the only way Trinidad fans can buy tickets to their nation's matches at Germany 2006 is by buying packages for three games which also include accommodations, sold by Simpaul Travel Service.
According to these press reports, Simpaul, based in the Trinidad & Tobago capital of Port-of-Spain and connected to the Warner family, has been given the country's official ticket allocation by FIFA.
An official communication from the FIFA ethics and sportsmanship committee reads: "The committee concluded that because of his involvement with Simpaul Travel Service in Port-of-Spain, FIFA vice-president Jack A. Warner has a conflict of interest with regard to ticketing for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, and as a result, he has violated FIFA's Code of Ethics."
Warner had invited FIFA to investigate his relationship with Simpaul Travel Service after the Trinidad & Tobago Express newspaper alleged Trinidad's allocation of tickets to the World Cup finals in Germany would be handled solely by the company.
Section Three of the FIFA Code of Ethics governing "Eligibility for and removal from office" states: "Only persons with the highest ethical principles. . . may serve as an Official or a member of a body. Anyone who does not fulfill or ceases to fulfill these conditions shall be deemed ineligible to serve as an Official or a member of a body and, if already in office, shall be relieved of that position."
Warner, 63, has been one of FIFA president Sepp Blatter's closest allies since his appointment to the world body's executive board in 1983. His case will be dealt with by FIFA's executive committee March 16-17.
According to Associated Press, Simpaul's web site now offers World Cup travel package without game tickets, which it instructed fans to buy directly from FIFA or theTTFF.
Trinidad and Tobago is in Group E with Sweden, England and Paraguay in Germany 2006 which will be played June 9-July 9.
FIFA seeks to penalize time-wasting
ZURICH -- When it meets in Lucerne, Switzerland, on March 4, The International Football Association Board -- soccer's rule-making body -- will discuss a FIFA proposal to amend Law 12 covering fouls and misconduct to toughen regulations on time-wasting by players. FIFA wants a player cautioned, if he or she interferes with the restart of the match after a foul or the ball leaving the field of play.
FIFA wants the rule to read: "Any player who intentionally interferes with the ball to prevent an opponent from restarting play at a free kick, throw-in, corner etc., will receive a yellow card," a FIFA statement said Thursday. "By the same token, it is proposed that a yellow card be shown to any player who interferes with the ball after his team has scored in an effort to delay the restart,"
The statement went on: "Substitutes, or those substituted, will also be in danger of a yellow card if they show dissent or delay the start of play."
In the same meeting, the board will take up another FIFA proposal to double the radius of the arc at the corner flags from 39.37 to 78.74 inches. The reason given is to allow more room to take the kick at venues where the corners are cramped.
Also to be discussed is "smart-ball" technology which shows whether a ball has crossed the goal-line. This was tried at the Under-17 Boys World Championship and the Club World Championship last year.
The Federation of French Football also requested the IFAB consider running tests of a video system to help referees.
Match-fixing scandal hits Belgium
ANTWERP, Belgium -- Lierse of Belgium has suspended two players and a coach after lawyers hired by the club judged the three to be guilty of match-fixing.
According to media reports, Lierse general manager Danny Araf reported that defender Laurent Fassotte, goalkeeper Cliff Mardulier and goalkeeping coach Patrick Deman have been suspended by the club until further notice.
"Our lawyers have told us we can take this course of action as they say they have evidence of wrong-doing on the part of the three," Araf said. "They have questioned the three and also met with the public prosecutor."
The trio have also had their homes searched by police as part of an investigation into the alleged match-fixing, a spokesman for the country's public prosecutor said Thursday. "I can confirm that police raided the houses of the people in question and they were taken for questioning," the spokesman said.
VRT, a Belgian national broadcaster, alleged in a long special program that seven first-division matches were fixed this season by 14 players and coaches from several teams, linked to a Shanghai-based gambling ring.
The Royal Belgian Football Association announced last week that it was launching its own investigation.
According to media reports and official statements Friday, Lierse's ex-coach and two former players were dismissed by their new teams after being implicated. Excelsior Mouscron fired coach Paul Put, who was sacked by Lierse in November. Marius Mitu and Laurent Delorge, who now play for Anderlecht, the first-place team in the first-division Jupiler League, admitted to club officials they had helped to influence results last season with Lierse.
The spokesman for the prosecutor subsequently confirmed that the two Anderlecht players were questioned Thursday in relation to the case.
"We have no comment to make on the matter, other than to hope it is resolved as soon as possible," Anderlecht said in a statement on its web site. Anderlecht has not been named in the allegations.
Lierse chairman Leo Theyskens told Reuters Friday that his club is not the only one involved in the match-fixing. "This scandal will get bigger before it's finished," he said in an interview. "It will absolutely not stop here."
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