Sport Soccer

Friday 19 January 2018

FIFA whistleblower Chuck Blazer (72) has passed away

Chuck Blazer
Chuck Blazer

Former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer, who turned whistleblower and gave evidence to the FBI about football-related corruption, has died at the age of 72.

The American, who revealed in 2013 that he had been diagnosed with cancer and diabetes, was banned from football activity for life by world football's governing body in July 2015.

The ban was announced by FIFA's ethics committee for his ''many acts of misconduct'' at FIFA and as general secretary of the CONCACAF confederation after Blazer pleaded guilty in the US court to charges of football-related corruption, including accepting bribes to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

Blazer's death was announced by his lawyers, Eric Corngold and Mary Mulligan, who said in a statement: "We are truly saddened by the passing of our client and friend, Chuck Blazer.

"During his 20 years as CONCACAF general secretary, Chuck Blazer was instrumental in bringing the federation into the modern age. His misconduct, for which he accepted full responsibility, should not obscure Chuck's positive impact on international soccer.

"With Chuck's guidance and leadership, CONCACAF transformed itself from impoverished to profitable, with substantial benefits and improvements to all member associations, players and fans.

"Throughout his adult life, Chuck felt great pride in his service to soccer. In fact, he devoted 30 years of his life to soccer at all levels of the game, with his involvement ranging from coaching his children's youth teams to serving on FIFA's executive committee."

Blazer admitted in June 2015 that he and others took bribes totalling 10million US dollars for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup and an undisclosed sum for Morocco's unsuccessful bid to host the 1998 tournament.

The revelation, contained in a plea bargain published by the US Department of Justice, came little more than 24 hours after Sepp Blatter announced he would be standing down as FIFA president as a corruption scandal gripped world football's governing body.

''I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup,'' Blazer said in his testimony.

''Beginning in, or around, 2004 and continuing to 2011, I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.''

Blazer said bribes and kickbacks were also commonplace in the CONCACAF tournaments run in North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The statement from his lawyers added that Blazer regretted his conduct.

"The May 27, 2015 announcement of the Department of Justice's corruption case involving FIFA and CONCACAF made Chuck Blazer's important, multi-year cooperation in the investigation public," the statement continued.

"By assisting the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Internal Revenue Service, and the United States Attorneys' Office for the Eastern District of New York in their joint investigation into the organisations governing international soccer and the companies conducting business with them, Chuck hoped to help bring transparency, accountability and fair play to CONCACAF, FIFA and soccer as a whole.

"Chuck also accepted responsibility for his own conduct by pleading guilty and owning up to his mistakes. Chuck felt profound sorrow and regret for his actions. He expressed sincere remorse towards his former constituents and colleagues, and to all of the soccer players and fans disappointed by his conduct.

"Chuck Blazer committed much of his life to making the world of soccer a better place for the players and the fans. He will be missed."

Press Association

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport