FIFA whistleblower Chuck Blazer admits bribes in World Cup choices

June 4, 2015 – 8:52AM

Christie Smythe

New York: US court documents show former FIFA executive committee member Chuck Blazer told a US federal judge that he and others took bribes to vote for South Africa to host the 2010 World Cup.

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. 

FIFA whistleblower Chuck Blazer

Blazer also said he arranged bribes around 1992 in the vote for which country would host the 1998 World Cup, which was ultimately hosted by France.

Former FIFA executive Chuck Blazer, has pleaded guilty to 10 charges.

Former FIFA executive Chuck Blazer, has pleaded guilty to 10 charges. Photo: AP

The admission was contained in a newly released transcript of a plea hearing in a sealed courtroom in Brooklyn, New York, in 2013.

Blazer said he and others on FIFA’s executive committee “agreed to accept bribes” in conjunction with the selection of South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, the most widely followed tournament in sports. He said the choice of the 1998 tournament also involved bribery.

Blazer, known to have criss-crossed the world on private jets and who had been photographed with the likes of Vladimir Putin, Hillary Clinton and Nelson Mandela, pleaded guilty to 10 crimes including racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering conspiracies along with tax evasion. The most serious carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Out the door: Sepp Blatter has resigned as FIFA president.

Out the door: Sepp Blatter has resigned as FIFA president. Photo: Reuters

Blazer, the former No.2 official of soccer in North and Central America and the Caribbean, said: “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.”

“I knew that the funds involved were the proceeds of an unlawful bribe, and I and others used wires, emails, and telephone to effectuate payment of and conceal the nature of the bribe,” Blazer told the court, referring to money he transferred between the US and the Caribbean.

Less than two years after his plea, the US charged more than a dozen soccer officials and media middlemen with widespread corruption at the highest levels of the sport.

More arrests are likely as the probe widens, US officials have said. Switzerland and the UK also started their own corruption investigations.

US officials believe one of the corruption schemes may involve an official close to FIFA president Sepp Blatter, according to a source familiar with the matter. Blatter said on Wednesday he would resign the FIFA presidency, four days after being elected to his fifth term.

According to the indictment, an unnamed “high-ranking FIFA official” authorised a $US10 million bribe to influence the selection of the host for the 2010 World Cup.

Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary general and Blatter’s top lieutenant, is that official, according to the source, who asked not to be named because the information is not public.

Bloomberg and AP

The Canberra Times

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