Chuck Blazer: FIFA execs took bribes connected to 1998, 2010 World Cups
Former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer said in his 2013 guilty plea testimony in U.S. District Court that he and other executive committee members accepted bribes related to host selection for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.
Blazer said that he "facilitated acceptance of a bribe" for the 1998 and 2010 tournaments, which were hosted by France and South Africa, respectively. He pled guilty to taking bribes from Morocco's bid in connection to the 1998 World Cup and South Africa's bid for 2010.
Blazer's testimony, made in the Eastern District of New York in November 2013, was unsealed Wednesday. The U.S. government recently revealed that Blazer pleaded guilty to six counts of income tax evasion and one count each of racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and willful failure to file a report of foreign bank and financial accounts.
In his testimony, Blazer states that he and other FIFA executive committee members took bribes not just for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, but also for several Gold Cups.
"Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the host nation for the 1998 World Cup. Beginning in or about 1993 and continuing through the early 2000s, I and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights to the 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003 Gold Cups," Blazer said. "Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 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."
Last week, nine FIFA officials and five business officials were indicted by the U.S. Department of Justice. Charges included racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud related to bribes and kickbacks.
Blazer's testimony to FIFA is believed to be a key part of the U.S. Department of Justice's investigation into corruption in FIFA.
The 70-year-old Blazer served as CONCACAF's secretary general from 1990 until 2011 and was a FIFA executive committee member from 1997 until 2013.
- Stanley Kay and Molly Geary