Chuck Blazer, the soccer official whose corruption complaints led to a senior FIFA colleague being banned for life, will step down as general secretary of the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football at the end of this year.
Blazer, 66, said in a e-mailed statement that he’ll end his two-decade tenure with CONCACAF, one of soccer’s six regional confederations, on Dec. 31. He’ll continue as a member of FIFA’s executive committee and intends to “pursue other career opportunities” in the sport.
“I’ve been doing this 21 years and that’s a long time,” Blazer said yesterday in a telephone interview. “I’ll keep my position on the FIFA executive committee. I’m elected until the middle of 2013 and I have no intention of walking away from the sport. I’m not leaving football, just this job.”
Blazer, an American, alerted soccer’s governing body in May to allegations that CONCACAF president Jack Warner and Asian confederation chief Mohamed bin Hammam offered Caribbean delegates $40,000 each in bribes in Bin Hammam’s abortive bid to become FIFA president.
Bin Hammam, a Qatari, subsequently was given a life ban from soccer. Trinidad & Tobago’s Warner, Blazer’s former boss at CONCACAF, quit the sport in June after being suspended pending an investigation into the bribery claims.
Bin Hammam denies the allegation. At the time of Warner’s resignation, FIFA closed all ethics committee procedures against him, saying “the presumption of innocence is maintained.”
Zurich-based FIFA has been dealing with corruption allegations for most of the past year. At one point, one-third of its executive committee, a 24-member decision-making panel, was either under investigation or suspended amid graft claims linked to the vote for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups and the presidential election.
Blazer, during whose tenure CONCACAF revenue rose to $40 million from $140,000, said he was proud to have helped expose corruption within soccer.
“I’m the guy who turned around and said enough of this,” Blazer told Bloomberg News. “I consider it a unique mark in my career of turning round and saying there’s a right way and a wrong way to do things, and I choose the right way.”
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