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Published: Sun, July 16, 2017
Sport | By Billy Aguilar

Ex-Fifa Official Chuck Blazer dies at the age of 72

Ex-Fifa Official Chuck Blazer dies at the age of 72

Blazer secretly recorded secret meetings with his then-FIFA colleagues in which the alleged corruption was discussed. The FIFA scandal resulted in almost 40 arrests and contributed to bans for people like former FIFA President Sepp Blatter, former UEFA President (and Blatter's right hand man) Michel Platini and former FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke. But he turned only when presented with little option but to become a cooperating witness.

Blazer also helped create the United States Women's National Team. As part of his contract as CONCACAF Secretary General Blazer negotiated a "10 percent clause", allowing him to personally profit on all rights deals signed by the confederation. Blazer became crucial when he secretly recorded meetings of both fellow corrupt worldwide football executives and those of London 2012 Olympic officials. "It won't make the edifice come crumbling down". But it all was based on a system of fraud, bribery, kickbacks and tax evasion, and it all crumbled when, in November 2011, an Federal Bureau of Investigation agent tapped him on the shoulder as he was scooting up East 56th Street in Manhattan.

It was the failure to fill in tax returns for years that put Blazer on the radar of the Internal Revenue Service.

Blazer took bribes in connection with Morocco's failed 1998 bid to host the tournament - which went to France - and South Africa's successful 2010 bid.

Blazer, who was banned from all football activities for life in 2015, had been suffering from cancer.

Blazer's lawyers Eric Corngold and Mary Mulligan announced his death on Wednesday. "Chuck also accepted responsibility for his own conduct by pleading guilty and owning up to his mistakes".

In 2009, Guardian journalist David Conn first encountered Chuck Blazer at a luxury hotel in Abu Dhabi, where Blazer was overseeing that year's Club World Cup as a member of FIFA's executive committee.

For a suburban soccer dad, Blazer gained unimaginable influence and access.

The finest hour of his "empire", Blazer moved through the world in a private jet, walked the streets of NY in an imposing all-terrain vehicle Hummer paid for by Concacaf and rented two huge apartments, one for his... cats, his great passion.

Blazer had a close relationship with CONCACAF president Jack Warner, as the two raised the region's profile on the global stage.

Warner continues to fight extradition from his native Trinidad and Tobago but even he is not the highest-profile figure to have been directly or indirectly affected by Blazer's evidence. He was the US Soccer Federation's executive vice president from 1984-86, becoming chair of the national teams committee.

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