Mr Chuck Blazer, the former FIFA executive committee member who turned whistleblower for the United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to uncover bribery and corruption in the world’s football governing institution, has been banned from football for life.
The ban was announced by FIFA’s ethics committee on Thursday following what the panel described as Blazer’s ‘many acts of misconduct’ at FIFA and as general secretary of the CONCACAF confederation. Blazer, an American sports administrator, has 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.
“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”, a statement released by the adjudicatory chamber of FIFA’s ethics committee read in parts.
“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.”
The ethics committee investigation had provisionally suspended its investigations into Blazer, 70, primarily because he is seriously ill with cancer. The appointment of Cornel Borbely as the chief ethics investigator to replace Michael Garcia in December saw the suspension of the investigation lifted and new proceedings against Blazer started.
The ethics committee found Blazer guilty of violations of general rules of conduct, loyalty, confidentiality, duty of disclosure, conflicts of interest, offering and accepting gifts and other benefits, and bribery and corruption.
Blazer went undercover as an FBI informer after being arrested in 2011 and agreed a plea bargain to avoid a jail sentence of up to 75 years.
Read full statement from FIFA below:
The adjudicatory chamber of the Ethics Committee, chaired by Hans-Joachim Eckert, has decided to ban the former FIFA Executive Committee member and CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer from taking part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level for life.
The decision was taken on the basis of investigations carried out by the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in response to the final report of the CONCACAF Integrity Committee and the latest facts presented by the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.
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. 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. He was found guilty of violations of art. 13 (General rules of conduct), art. 15 (Loyalty), art. 16 (Confidentiality), art. 18 (Duty of disclosure, cooperation and reporting), art. 19 (Conflicts of interest), art. 20 (Offering and accepting gifts and other benefits) and art. 21 (Bribery and corruption) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
In May 2013, the Ethics Committee had decided to provisionally suspend the investigation proceedings in relation to former FIFA Executive Committee member Chuck Blazer until the end of 2013 at the earliest.
The body had taken the decision after receiving written confirmation that Blazer would not be engaging in any football-related activities until at least December 31, 2013, and after taking into consideration circumstances which made it advisable to provisionally suspend the investigations, especially for reasons of Blazer’s ill health.
When Dr Cornel Borbely took over the role of independent chairman of the investigatory chamber of the Ethics Committee in December 2014, he lifted this suspension and started new proceedings against Chuck Blazer, which have led to today’s announcement of the lifelong ban.
The ban is effective from July 9, 2015, the date on which the present decision was notified.
By Olisemeka Obeche (with agency reports)