The New York Times passes along that the now indicted former Vice President of FIFA, Jack Warner, published a video yesterday in which he cited an Onion news story as proof that the U.S. was persecuting him, not for legitimate reasons, but over sour grapes regarding America’s loss of the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. The Onion piece, FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States, “reported” that:
“We are thrilled to reveal that, for the first time in 21 years, the World Cup will finally return to America, with matches set to kick off today at 5 p.m. local time in Los Angeles,” said FIFA president Sepp Blatter, smiling broadly before unveiling the tournament’s official logo, a hand-drawn stick figure kicking a soccer ball with “USA 2015!” hastily scribbled in black marker above its head.
Good enough for Warner apparently, who cites the fake news as proof that FIFA is pretty great (to do that for the U.S.) and that the U.S. is a hypocrite (for accepting FIFA’s magical generosity). What’s suddenly unclear, however, is how closely involved Warner was in the day-to-day or year-to-year operations of FIFA — at least to the point that he could believe a World Cup could be organized within a single day. In the video, he also argues that America is bitter because “the U.S. applied to hold the World Cup in 2022 and they lost the bid to Qatar — a small country, an Arabic country, a Muslim country.” He suggests that rather than prosecute him for corruption, the U.S. should just “take your losses like a man.” He is also certain he’ll be exonerated.
Warner subsequently took down and reuploaded the video without the Onion reference. The Times’ Robert Mackey has preserved the original here: