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Fri, Feb

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Express journalist Lasana Liburd will cover the 2006 World Cup in Germany after all.


FIFA, the world governing body for football, yesterday granted accreditation for the Express writer to cover the showcase tournament after he was initially denied the right to represent his employer by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Federation (T&TFF).

Press officer Dave Lamy had suggested last week that the T&TFF's decision to blank Liburd was the prerogative of its special advisor and FIFA vice-president Jack Warner, while communications officer Shaun Fuentes said priority had to be given to "true supporters of the football team".

Warner, whose business dealings within the T&TFF were the feature of a three-part series by Liburd, also hinted that the decision to block Liburd was the local football body's response to the reporter's investigative articles.

Warner, who spoke to the press at the initiation of the FIFA Goal Project in Antigua last Friday, claimed that the series of articles regarding his involvement with the T&TFF were also an attack on FIFA and insisted he had the global body's full support.

"How could you attack the FIFA, Jack Warner and Blatter in the worse way and then want to cover the sport that these people administer?" Warner asked rhetorically.

Andreas Herren, FIFA's Media Department head, insisted that his employer had not used its influence to block the Express reporter and followed up by allowing Liburd to apply directly to FIFA-eight days after the global accreditation deadline.

Herren confirmed yesterday that FIFA would grant the reporter a press pass.