FIFA has banned former executive committee member and CONCACAF General Secretary Chuck Blazer for life, effective immediately, for his role in soccer’s widespread corruption, FIFA’s ethics committee announced Thursday.
The world’s soccer governing body said Blazer can not take “part in any kind of football-related activity at national and international level.”
FIFA's ethics panel said its ruling was made using evidence from the United States government's federal case into widespread corruption among FIFA officials.
In May, the United States Justice Department indicted and charged 14 current and former FIFA officials with racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies, accusing them of decades of "rampant, systemic, and deep-rooted" corruption.
"(Blazer) 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 FIFA statement read.
FIFA said that Blazer committed six violations of the code of ethics, including offering and accepting gifts and other benefits, conflicts of interest and bribery and corruption.
According to charges that were unsealed in May by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, Blazer pleaded guilty to 10 counts, including 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.
Blazer’s guilty plea ordered him to forfeit nearly $2 million in bribes and pay the Internal Revenue Service $11 million in unpaid taxes.
Blazer, 70, was CONCACAF's secretary general from 1990 until 2011 and was a FIFA executive committee member from 1997 until 2013. The United States government acknowledged that Blazer acted as an undercover informant for the FBI and assisted the investigation that led to the DOJ indictment.
Blazer also said he and other FIFA executive committee members accepted bribes for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, as well as for five Gold Cups.
"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," the ethics panel said.
- Scooby Axson