Qatar 2022 World Cup scandal: Reports of former Fifa vice-president paid millions by Qatari firm

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With Fifa’s name dragged through the mud time and time again, these latest allegations are set to rock the soccer world.

The former vice-president of soccer’s world governing body and President of CONCACAF for over two decades, Jack Warner, has been accused of receiving over $2.3 million from a Qatari firm, just days after the 2022 World Cup was awarded to the Middle East country.

According to an investigation by British newspaper, The Telegraph, Warner appears to have been personally paid $1.2 million from a company controlled by a former Qatari soccer official just after the decision to award the desert country the World Cup. Allegedly, another $750,000 was also paid to Mr Warner’s sons and a further $400,000 was paid to one of his employees.

Warner, Fifa’s vice-president for 14 years until 2011 when he stepped down following a Fifa ethics committee found him guilty of encouraging bribes. A report from the ethics committee said there was “compelling” evidence that Mr Warner was “an accessory to corruption.”

When approached by the Telegraph in his Trinidad home but refused to comment on the payments when asked about them. Warner is currently being investigated by the FBI, with reports about bank accounts in the Cayman Islands and New York are being scrutinized, and his eldest son who lives in Miami is said to be co-operating with their investigation.

(MORE: Warner resigns as national security minister of Trinidad & Tobago following fraud report)

Reportedly the documents unearthed by the Telegraph’s in-depth investigation, which saw numerous journalists scour the globe to find out details on the alleged deals, state that two weeks after Qatar won the right to host the 2022 World Cup, a statement dated December 15, 2010 was made “payable to Jack Warner” by Qatar’s Fifa executive Mohamed Bin Hammam.

Also the Telegraph claims that Warner’s two sons and an employee were paid a further $1 million by the same Qatari company, where a document allegedly states the payments were to “offset legal and other expenses”, but another letter claims more than $1 million cover “professional services provided over the period 2005-2010”.

Warner, 71, was one of the 22 members of the Fifa executive committee which voted to give Russia the 2018 World Cup and then controversially hand the 2022 tournament to Qatar. Looking back on the decision made in 2010, it was one of the most sensational stories in soccer history as the tiny Arabic nation was handed one of the world’s biggest events. At the time, I remember thinking that something didn’t quite add up as bribery allegations were rife even before the announcement was made in 2010, after two Fifa members were found guilty of agreeing to sell their votes six weeks before the decision was made.

More fallout on Warner will arrive in the next few days and hours, but the 2022 World Cup in Qatar continues to be encapsulated with controversy. A spokesman for the Qatar World Cup had the following to say.

“The 2022 bid committee strictly adhered to Fifa’s bidding regulations in compliance with their code of ethics. The supreme committee for delivery and legacy and the individuals involved in the 2022 bid committee are unaware of any allegations surrounding business dealings between private individuals.”

USMNT: 4 players, including Brooks, Lletget, released; Arriola added

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Hours after his side’s 6-0 thrashing of Honduras to resuscitate dreams of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, Bruce Arena announced on Saturday five changes to the U.S. national team roster ahead of Tuesday’s qualifier against Panama.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage | MLS ]

John Brooks (sinus infection), Sebastian Lletget (foot), Jordan Morris (knee) and Michael Orozco (knee) were all released back to their club teams, while Club Tijuana midfielder Paul Arriola was added to the squad.

[ MORE: USA 6-0 Honduras | Three things we learned | Player ratings ]

Brooks dealt with the sinus infection throughout USMNT camp this past week, as Morris did his knee injury which he picked up last weekend. Lletget left Friday’s win over Honduras in the 18th minute and will undergo further tests to determine the severity of his injury; he was seen leaving the stadium on crutches and wearing a walking boot.

The USMNT’s roster for Tuesday’s qualifier in Panama City, Panama, now stands at 23 players, and reads as follows:

Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Rapinoe won’t back down on social issues despite U.S. Soccer policy

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Megan Rapinoe recently earned her spot back in the U.S. Women’s National Team squad ahead of next month’s friendlies against Russia, but the veteran won’t remain silent when it comes to her stance on the social climate of America.

[ MORE: Looking back on USMNT’s big win over Honduras ]

The 31-year-old was scrutinized for joining NFL player Colin Kaepernick in 2016 when they knelt during their respective sporting events, along with dozens of other athletes across the United States.

While Rapinoe admits that the form of protest is up for discussion, she also states that social inequality issues in the U.S. go far beyond that.

“What has surprised me the most, especially post-election, is that people are still sort of arguing against it. It’s really obvious that we have very serious inequality in this country across many different spectrums,” Rapinoe told the Guardian. “Yes, we can talk about the form of protest, or the way it’s done, or this or that. But it’s still not really the conversation that I think we desperately need to have more of in this country.”

A few weeks back, U.S. Soccer announced that it now requires all players that represent the Stars and Stripes to stand when the national anthem is played, and Rapinoe has agreed to do such.

While her days of kneeling on the pitch are in the past, Rapinoe believes she wouldn’t do anything different because she was simply trying to spark discussion amongst the American people.

“I don’t think there’s any perfect way to protest. I think if there was something else being done, something else would have been said about it. I can’t look back and say that I would have done this different, this different or this different.

“I can sleep at night knowing that I genuinely tried to have a really important conversation, or at least tried to open it up. I think I came to it with an open mind, an open heart and tried to get as many people to talk about it as I could.”

Report: Chelsea planning Hazard, Courtois pay raises

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Eden Hazard has returned to his old self under Antonio Conte this season, and now Chelsea is hoping to lock down their star attacker.

[ MORE: Lukaku says decision has been made on Everton future ]

According to the Mirror, the Premier League leaders are planning on offering up a pay raise to Hazard, who has 11 league goals this season for the Blues.

Hazard signed a nearly $250,000 per week deal two seasons ago, but the Belgium international will likely rake in significantly more under the reported deal as Chelsea hopes to keep the 26-year-old away from Spanish giants Real Madrid and others.

The Mirror is also reporting that goalkeeper and Hazard’s Belgian teammate Thibaut Courtois is likely to be handed a raise is salary as well.

The shot-stopper is set be handed a deal roughly in the range of what Hazard is currently making after allowing just 21 goals in 28 PL matches this season.

Ballack acknowledges difficult decision ahead for John Terry

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For the better part of 19 years John Terry has been a staple of Chelsea’s backline.

[ WATCH: Zaha nets first international goal for Ivory Coast ]

With his future at Stamford Bridge becoming more and more in doubt though, it appears it’s time for the 36-year-old to move on from his longtime club, and that’s a decision that another former Chelsea player doesn’t envy.

[ MORE: Everton’s Coleman breaks leg on Ireland duty ]

Ex-Blues midfielder Michael Ballack knows that Terry has options, whether it be in Major League Soccer, the Chinese Super League or even with another Premier League club, but the German says it’s difficult because of what the centerback has meant to Chelsea.

“He is a player with that history and charisma,” Ballack, who spent four years with Chelsea during his playing days, told Sky Sports. “He’s such a Chelsea boy and they love him there.

“I know what it means if your career comes to an end and you’re getting older. You don’t know whether you extend your contract, play for another club or go abroad to America.

“I’m sure he has some options but if you think long-term, you have to feel comfortable with the decision.

For the first time in years, Terry has failed to establish himself as a first-team regular largely due to Antonio Conte‘s three-back system. The 36-year-old has appeared in just five PL matches this campaign, while making 10 appearances overall for the Blues, who currently sit atop England’s top flight and are in position to go for the double with the FA Cup semifinals lurking.

Terry himself has acknowledged that his career is nearing its end, but knowing the competitive drive that has made the Englishman great throughout his almost 20-year career, it’s hard to imagine that he’ll just give up his playing days without a fight.