Accused FIFA official cites satirical article in his defense

Accused FIFA official cites satirical article in his defense (Image 1)

Matt Jaworowski
Media General National Desk

(MEDIA GENERAL) — Jack Warner, one of seven high-ranking FIFA officials arrested last week on corruption charges, spoke out in a video statement released on YouTube on Sunday, May 31, 2015.

Warner defended himself against charges of racketeering and wire fraud, claiming his charges are part of a conspiracy hatched out of American jealousy over awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar instead of the U.S. While explaining his defense, Warner held up an article with a headline “FIFA Frantically Announces 2015 Summer World Cup In United States,” to illustrate the Americans’ personal lust to host the tournament.

Just one problem – the article Warner used to defend himself was written by The Onion: a satirical news outlet.

“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,” Warner said in the video, later asking, “Why is it (the Americans) believe that they have a right to the World Cup?”

The article from The Onion, which consists of one paragraph, included a fake quote from FIFA president Sepp Blatter announcing a 2015 men’s World Cup to be played in the United States, with games starting “today at 5 p.m. local time in Los Angeles.” The satire also describes Blatter unveiling the tournament logo of a hand-drawn stick figure kicking a soccer ball and that the U.S. national team was leading defending champion Germany in the World Cup’s opening match after the Americans had been awarded 12 penalties in the game’s first three minutes.

After the video was posted through YouTube and Warner’s various social media channels, he quickly was mocked for his error. Shortly after it was posted, the video was taken down without explanation and reposted two hours later, edited down 63 seconds, according to The New York Times, and without any reference to The Onion article.

The video below has been set to start shortly before Warner discusses The Onion article.

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