Former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer, a key figure in a US investigation into corruption by football officials, has been banned for life from football activities by the sport’s governing body. Blazer, who in 2013 secretly pleaded guilty in the US to bribery and financial offences, was found by FIFA’s ethics committee to have breached rules on loyalty, confidentiality, duty of disclosure, conflicts of interest, offering and accepting gifts and bribery and corruption.
“Mr Blazer committed many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official in different high-ranking and influential positions at FIFA and CONCACAF [which governs the sport in North and Central America and the Caribbean],” the ethics committee said in statement.
“In his positions as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, payment and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, bribes and kickbacks as well as other money-making schemes.”
US-based lawyers for Blazer did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Through a 2013 US plea agreement, Blazer become a cooperating witness in the US probe, which has engulfed FIFA and pressured the governing body’s president, Sepp Blatter to step down.
He agreed to provide prosecutors information, turn over any documents he possessed related to the probe, participate in undercover activities and testify at trial.
Since then the US Justice Department has stunned FIFA by targeting a coterie of top officials from the Americas as part of the probe.
Seven FIFA officials were detained in a raid on a Zurich hotel on the eve of a FIFA congress at which Blatter won reelection. The seven are now fighting extradition to the US and are among 14 new figures facing charges as part of the same inquiry which snared Blazer.
In parallel, Swiss authorities are investigating the attribution of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar. Amid corruption allegations, both countries have strongly denied any wrongdoing. Blazer, who is at the age of 70, is now in hospital with rectal cancer, type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. Al Jazeera