Monday, May 12, 2008

Jack stranded in China?

When I chatted online last night with Jack Warner around midnight, he was extolling the virtues of Vision Asia and the trip he was making with AFC President Mohamed Bin Hammam, I never expected to be waking up a few hours later to the news that a 7.8 Earthquake had shaken the very ground my friend and President was standing on in Chengdu, China.

Fortunately, I had already received the message that Jack was OK. Maureen Warner had told my Deputy Ted Howard at 5:30am that she had heard from him following the Quake and that he was fine. It wasn't until considerably later that we learned that the airport was closed and the he and others in the visiting delegation were camped out near the field in anticipation of its reopening and finishing their trip to China.

Jack was on a tough enough schedule. He had gone on the trip which began in Kuala Lampur on May 8th. The following day, after a fuel stop in Hanoi they arrived in Jinan, China and then a visit to the Mayor and a welcome Dinner. Saturday, May 10th, had him visiting Zibo City winding up with a visit to the World Football Museu
m at Linzi. Sunday's departure from Jinan airport brought them to the fateful visit to the City on Chengdu and receptions by the City League and a Dinner hosted by the Mayor at the Sheraton.

Monday afternoon, the 12th, from his room at the Sheraton resting prior to the Press Conference on the AFC/CFA Vision China Project, the tranquility of the day was shattered with 3 full mi
nutes of violent interruption. When their private charter plane took off, maybe the only one permitted to leave the airport by special permission, the delegation was on its way back to KL and for Jack, more flights to arrive in New York midday on Wednesday the 14th to chair the Board of the CONCACAF on the 15th.

Without a doubt, all of us look forward to hearing about the ordeal of the frightening disaster that engulfed the Vision Asia team, but most of all, we will be glad to have Jack safe and sound.

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