Attorney warns Warner’s extradition to US could take years

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In the firing line: Warner.

Jack Warner’s legal battle against extradition to the United States on corruption charges could ‘possibly last years’, the Attorney General of Trinidad has said.

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The former FIFA vice-president is currently on bail in Trinidad after being one of the people indicted by US authorities over allegations of racketeering, wire fraud and money-laundering.

Warner has denied any wrongdoing, claiming during a televised address in Trinidad on Wednesday night he would reveal an “avalanche” of documents in support of his case.

Attorney General of Trinidad Garvin Nicholas claims the complex legal nature of the case was unlikely to resolve itself quickly.

When asked if Trinidad would like to be rid of Mr Warner “once and for all”, Nicholas told Britain’s Channel 4 News: “We would like to get rid of the problem, that is accusations being made against a national that is bringing the country into disrepute, but we would also want to ensure that all the rights for any individual are maintained.”

On the subject of extradition to the US, Nicholas added: “The process allows for many appeals, if there are grounds for such appeals, so again it is difficult to say whether it will last a month or longer… possibly (years), depending on the appeals process.”

Warner was also accused on Sunday of asking Egypt for a $7m bribe for votes to host the 2010 World Cup, while the BBC have claimed that the 72-year-old Trinidadian pocketed a $10m payment made by South Africa through FIFA which was intended to pay for football development for the African diaspora in the Caribbean.

In the latest allegation against Warner, former Egyptian sports minister Aley Eddine Helal said: “Warner said he could guarantee us seven votes… He asked for one million dollars for each vote.”

Egypt was a candidate to host the 2010 World Cup, but it received no votes in the 2004 FIFA ballot and South Africa was eventually chosen to host the tournament.

Trinidad’s sports minister Brent Sancho, a former international footballer, said he was appalled by the revelations.

“He must face justice, he must answer all of these questions. Justice has to be served,” said Sancho, describing the revelations as a “travesty”.

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FIFA official says Qatar and Russia could lose World Cups

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Scala is the first FIFA official to warn of stripped World Cups.

Russia and Qatar could lose the 2018 and 2022 World Cups if irregularities are proven in them being awarded the hosting rights, a FIFA official told a Swiss newspaper published Sunday.

– FIFA: BBC claim Jack Warner took bribes to pay off debt
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“If evidence exists that Qatar and Russia received the (World Cup) awards only thanks to bribes, then the awards could be annulled,” head of FIFA’s auditing and compliance committee Domenico Scala told the Sonntagszeitung weekly.

He stressed though that “this evidence has not been provided” so far.

His comments are the first by a senior FIFA official to even open up the possibility of either Russia or Qatar not hosting the football showpiece in the wake of the recent scandals that have engulfed football’s world governing body.

Scala’s comments come amid a corruption scandal engulfing football’s world governing body, centring around 14 current or former FIFA officials and sports marketing executives accused by US prosecutors of taking part in a sweeping kickbacks scheme going back 20 years involving a total of $150 million in bribes.

The scandal, which also involves a Swiss probe into the awarding of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar, has led to the resignation of long serving FIFA president Sepp Blatter last week, just four days after his reelection for a fifth successive term.

On Thursday, Britain said it was ready to step in and hold the 2022 World Cup if it was taken away from Qatar, whose hosting has consistently been dogged by controversy.

Late last month, FIFA ruled out a revote for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, insisting the hosts would not change.

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Rhythm & reputation motivate Ghana U20s

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Ghana celebrate their victory over Panama which ensures a meeting with Mali in the last-16.

Omar Al Duri is a UAE-based fitness coach who is working on the backroom staff of the Ghana Under-20 football team. This is his behind-the-scenes look at the Black Satellites’ quest for FIFA U20 World Cup glory. 

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It’s been an amazing ride so far at the Under-20 World Cup and I hope it continues when we take on our African rivals Mali in the last-16 this Wednesday. We made it through as group winners after beating Panama on Friday and there is a definite feeling that our World Cup journey can go beyond this fixture and into a quarter-final.

It's nice to be surrounded by a strong football environment here in New Zealand, with players who are hungry and want to do well. To be here means the Ghana team has the chance to provide a better life for themselves and their families. The players want contracts and have the opportunity to showcase their talents at the highest level. This is a chance for managers, scouts and people involved in football clubs to watch them. In respect, they wouldn’t be watched that much in the lower leagues of Ghana – even though they should be.

The culture behind Ghana is very spiritual. I've never seen anything like it in terms of the camaraderie between this team – they do everything together – and it’s probably the best side I’ve been involved with collectively. Ghana is not just respected by Africa, the world is appreciating the talent these boys have, and it's nice they have the chance to play on the global stage.

An average day here in New Zealand is long but it’s the nature of playing a competition of this stature. We have breakfast at 7.30am, and pray before and after meals throughout the day. Breakfast is followed by a technical meeting at 11am, in which we go over the strengths and weaknesses of opposition and review videos from previous games. If it's not a match day, we normally train in the evenings. We try to mimic everything from weather conditions to our warm-up routines in order to ensure that we are prepared in the best possible way. The margin is so small at this level so it's important we address everything. 

When we put the ball down and play to the best of our abilities, we can outplay anyone. We lacked in our physical ability during the African Championship, but it's something we've worked on and addressed, and now we’re getting stronger as the tournament progresses. Our performance levels are a lot stronger, especially in the second half of games where the intensity can increase.

As a country, Ghana is very famous for creating its own music. We don't tend to listen to normal music as much here. One player will set the tone, helping us produce our own specific chant. We do it from our hotel, all the way on the bus journey, and into the changing rooms to matches. We set our own vibe which is incredible, and this prepares us for the task at hand. 

I like to listen to the players and see what issues they have that we can resolve. The psychology of what they go through back at home is huge, in terms of selection, exposure and expectation. The majority of the team play their club football in Ghana, so the pressure of playing for their futures is a massive thing. It's their life, so if I can listen to them and put them in the right frame of mind and help them produce a good performance, then I’m happy.

The team is full of characters, especially left back Patrick Asmah. I think he could play anywhere. He brings energy to the team and he’s the cheeky one that starts the dancing.

Our midfielder Clifford Aboagye is a technically gifted player who can beat anyone. He plays with Granada in Spain. He's only 5ft 4in but dictates the pace of the game and causes problems for the opposition. He has played against Paul Pogba twice. After their second encounter, Pogba turned around and said “I can't get around Clifford. He’s too fast”. Even against Argentina recently, they were taken aback by Patrick’s skill level. He created the first goal and scored the second, which was a vital contribution in a slender 3-2 win.

Omar with Yaw Yeboah who was awarded best player in March's U20 African Championship.

Next up is Mali on Wednesday and I'm sure they'll be a few surprises in store. They beat us in the African Championship but we are confident; it's been a great journey so far and myself and the players certainly don't want it to end. 

OMAR’S THREE PLAYERS TO WATCH

YAW YEBOAH (Man City and Ghana) – Yaw was the Player of the Tournament in March’s African Championship. He scored two goals in the World Cup so far, including an important goal against Austria, and the decisive third goal against Argentina.

BENCE MERVO (Gyor and Hungary) – An instrumental attacker who has scored four goals in four attempts, including three against South Korea; unfortunately a 2-0 defeat to Nigeria in the final group game meant the Hungarians falied to qualify for the knockout stages.

ANGEL CORREA (Atletico Madrid and Argentina) – The captain of a bright South American side, Correa scored two goals in the first game against Panama. He is impressive, and commands play well when in possession. 

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