formal name is the Dr. Joao Havelange Centre of Excellence, which is the tip-off that something fishy was going on. Joao Havelange, the former FIFA president, repaid Warner for his support by
providing the funding for Concacaf to build a sports complex in the town of Macoya. The complex contains a meeting hall with a capacity of 5,000 and is named after Sepp Blatter, who was elected
as Havelange's successor -- with Warner's help -- in 1998, a year before it opened.
What FIFA and Concacaf didn't know was who owned the property on which the complex was built. After Warner was ousted as FIFA president in 2011, au audit of Concacaf's business was conducted, and among other things, it was discovered two Warner companies owned the land on which the complex was built.
“I am shell-shocked, dismayed and upset,” said Warner's successor as Concacaf president, Jeffrey Webb. That's quite a statement coming from some was later indicted -- and pleaded guilty -- in the U.S. probe into FIFA corruption.
Would Warner hand the keys to the complex back to Concacaf? Wishful thinking. Warner denied owning the property, then claimed it was a gift from Havelange, who turned 100 on May 8 and is living in Rio de Janeiro. Even if he did, there was a complication: Warner had mortgaged the property.
The Centre of Excellence sits as the symbol of Warner's years of conniving, a “badge of honor” on his reign is the what Lasana Liburd, the Trinidadian investigative sports journalist who has exposed Warner’s activities, told AFP.
The Centre of Excellence also shows the lengths Warner will go to make money. It is used for flea markets. "Book for your Wedding, Anniversary, Birthday Party etc. at one of our venues," is what it says on its Facebook page.
The Centre of Excellence even has a hotel, Le Sportel Inn, though you'd be advised to probably avoid it on your next stay in Port of Spain. Here are just a few of the headlines from Trip Advisor reviews: “Barely satisfactory," “Terrible room and nasty towels," “Do not recommend," “Not a first, second, third or fourth choice," and "White-washed tomb!”
“I am pretty sure it is the main money spinner for Warner right now,” Liburd told AFP. “It is a symbol of Caribbean football and Warner, in that something that could have been used for so much good and empowering the region in terms of sport instead was used for personal gain and profit.”
That was last June, shortly after the 73-year-old Warner was indicted on charges of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, wire fraud, money laundering conspiracy and money laundering. Almost a year later, he still has not been extradited.
Yes, Jack Warner has good lawyers. That's why I say to Concacaf, Good luck!