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Jack Warner likens arrests to US-led conspiracy to take over FIFA

Photo credit: AFP.

Photo credit: AFP.

Fallen Trinidad and Tobago soccer honcho Jack Warner said Friday the latest fallout from the corruption scandal gripping world soccer showed the United States was winning its battle to “take over FIFA.”

Speaking outside a court hearing where he is seeking to stave off his extradition to the United States, Warner said there were ulterior motives for the US indictments charging him and a host of other top soccer officials and marketing executives with corruption. He said that one official snared Thursday in latest anti-graft sting, Honduran national Alfredo Hawit, would be replaced as president of the North American, Central American and Caribbean football confederation (CONCACAF) by the head of the US Soccer Federation, Sunil Gulati.

SEE MORE: 16 more indicted in ongoing FIFA corruption probe.

Although CONCACAF has not named a replacement for Hawit, Warner warned of a nefarious American plot.

“Since the US is the football police of the world they’re happy the acting president of CONCACAF is the US president of football, so I guess they have won the first stage for now,” he said.

“So let them take over FIFA and let them remove the World Cups from Qatar and Russia, that is all right,” he said sarcastically.

Warner, 72, was among the initial group of 14 people indicted last May on racketeering, bribery and money laundering charges by the US Attorney General for their alleged involvement in corrupt practices at world football’s governing body, including massive bribes for the awarding of marketing rights to tournaments.

Warner’s lawyers are challenging the legality of an extradition treaty between Trinidad and Tobago and the United States. Justice James Aboud adjourned the case to Dec. 17 and said he hoped to deliver a decision by early February.

Warner’s lawyers have already indicated they are prepared to appeal all the way to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Britain, the final court of appeal for this Commonwealth country.

Warner’s defense chief, Fyard Hosein, said the day’s proceedings were “the start of a long, drawn-out legal battle” that would take several years.

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