Jack Warner resigns as national security minister of Trinidad & Tobago following fraud report

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Three days after a CONCACAF ethics panel accused Jack Warner of enriching himself through fraud, the former CONCACAF president and FIFA executive committee member resigned from his position as national security minister of Trinidad & Tobago.

Warner tendered his resignation to T&T Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar on Sunday night merely 11 months after she raised eyebrows by naming Warner to the position. Warner’s resignation followed CONCACAF’s release of a 113 page report into allegations of financial mismanagement by Warner and ex-general secretary Chuck Blazer.

In the report committee member David Simmons accused Warner of misappropriating at least $15 million by compensating himself with CONCACAF funds without authorization after his last contract expired in July 1998. Simmons’ investigation also found that Warner did not disclose to CONCACAF or FIFA that a $25.9 million Center of Excellence, which is no longer as asset of CONCACAF, was built on land owned by his companies. Among other complaints Warner was also accused of mismanaging nearly $1 million in FIFA funds slated for a reconstruction project in Haiti.

Warner is no stranger to allegations of fraud and controversy. In June 2011 he resigned as CONCACAF president after he was accused of attempting to bribe Caribbean delegates $40,000 each to vote for then-Asian confederation head Mohamed bin Hammam in the election for president of FIFA. Those allegations compelled Warner to give up his powerful position on FIFA’s executive committee. By walking away Warner avoided having to face a FIFA Ethics Commission inquiry.

Given Warner’s checkered past many people were surprised when Persad-Bissessar appointed the ex-soccer powerbroker as security minister of T&T. Shortly after the appointment Warner was sharply criticized for dispatching troops and riot police to remove a protest camp built by environmentalists. He also made headlines by announcing his intent to stop the release of crime reports and statistics, arguing that publicizing such information only encouraged more crime.

For Trinidadians, Warner’s resignation was a long time coming. “The ceaseless allegations have been going on too long,” said Winford James, a political analyst and newspaper columnist. “They have affected the public psyche, which has been under siege. It will hurt the government – the PM took too long – but will win some friends for her that some action has been taken.”

The report previously prompted Blazer to stand down from his position as an executive committee member of FIFA after detailing that the American received more than $20 million in compensation from CONCACAF, including $17 million in commission. An election held last Friday confirmed that Sunil Gulati, the current president of the United States Soccer Federation, would be replacing Blazer. Gulati won the vote 18-17, defeating runner-up FMF President Justino Compean, of Mexico. Gulati will formerly replace Blazer on May 30, 2013.

With the removal of Warner from his position of power within Trinidad & Tobago and Blazer from FIFA one hopes the region can begin to march forward in a positive manner, both politically and athletically. By reducing the corruption within CONCACAF and FIFA, relations should begin to improve with FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who has made clear his dissent of soccer in the region.

Report: Man United to target Rose, other full backs this summer

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Jose Mourinho has identified perhaps the most underrated position on the pitch as a place he needs to upgrade his squad this summer.

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According to a report from The Guardian, the Manchester United manager is looking to sign Tottenham wing back Danny Rose and potentially another full back in the summer transfer window. With Luke Shaw likely to leave the club, Mourinho is left with incumbents left back Ashley Young and right back Antonio Valencia, both on the wrong side of 30-years old and both converted wingers playing out-of-position.

Mourinho last December decried crosstown rivals Man City for spending more than $140 million to sign wing backs Benjamin Mendy and Kyle Walker last summer. Though Mendy missed most of the season with a torn ACL, Walker and fellow outside back Danilo helped give Man City’s attack another dimension out wide, as the wing backs in the 3-4-3 or Man City’s 4-1-4-1 with Fernandinho dropping back into the centerback pairing become ever more important.

Rose has had a contentious last 18-months or so at Tottenham and could be looking to leave this summer. But it will likely take a bid north of $75 million, around what it cost Man City to sign Walker last summer, to buy Rose out of his Tottenham contract.

Matteo Darmian meanwhile, another potential outside back for Man United, could also be departing the club this summer, as Man United looks to replenish its side.

Errors down, penalty kicks up after introduction of VAR in Italy

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The implementation of Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in Italy has been controversial, but according to a look at the statistics, it has for the most part done its job to fix clear and obvious errors.

Italian sports paper Gazzetta Dello Sport compiled all the times VAR has been used through 346 matches, 330 in Serie A and 16 in the Coppa Italia. There were 1,736 checks (916 goals, 464 penalties and 356 red cards) with 105 corrections and just 17 errors where the referee and assistant made the wrong decision. Eight of those errors did affect the result, which is an issue that will surely be addressed by the Italian officiating organization.

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But overall, Gazzetta found that in the VAR era, referee errors only amounted to 0.98 percent during a match, as opposed to 6.03 percent in the past. In addition, fouls are down 8.8 percent, red cards are down 6.4 percent, and yellow cards are down 14.7 percent. On the flip side, penalty kicks are called 4.3 more percent of the time.

The Premier League voted recently not to add VAR to its league matches next season, while top leagues in Germany, Italy and in Major League Soccer and the United Soccer League continue to use it.

Report: New Arsenal manager will have small budget to re-shape squad

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Whoever takes the helm as Arsenal’s next manager will have to do some math gymnastics this summer to stretch every penny available.

According to a report from The Telegraph, Arsenal is giving Arsene Wenger‘s successor a little less than $70 million to work with in this summer’s transfer market, citing back-to-back transfer windows with club-record signings (Alexandre Lacazette last summer and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in January) and three raises given to players. Arsenal paid around $78 million alone to sign Aubameyang and around $65 million for Lacazette.

[READ: UCL Preview: Liverpool vs. Roma]

That means whoever comes in next to lead Arsenal will likely have to sell one or two players this summer to raise additional money for world-class signings.

For the last decade, Arsenal has been crying out for a new pair of centerbacks and a holding midfielder in the mould of Patrick Vieira. In addition, with Petr Cech getting older, the prospect of needing a new goalkeeper is also on the horizon.

Luckily for Arsenal, they seem to be just fine up front. From Aubameyang and Lacazette to Mesut Ozil, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey, the club has the talent to challenge for a title next season in that department.

A dozen different names have been bandied about as to who will be Arsenal’s next manager, with out-of-contract and former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique reportedly on the shortlist. Vieira, former Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta, Germany National Team coach Joachim Low, Juventus boss Max Allegri and Hoffenheim’s Julian Nagelsman have all also been linked with the job.

Tunisian player who collapsed in Spain regains consciousness

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MADRID (AP) Spanish third-division club Toledo says a Tunisian player who collapsed from heart failure during practice 10 days ago has regained consciousness.

The club says doctors removed sedative medication and Lassad Nouioui was responding well to treatment on Monday.

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They will consider removing the 32-year-old Nouioui from the intensive care unit if his condition keeps improving. Nouioui has played for a number of clubs during his 14-year professional career, notably a four-year stay at Deportivo La Coruna and a one-year spell with Celtic.

Nouioui collapsed on April 14.

The game against Real Madrid B the following day was postponed because of the problem with Nouioui.