The Soccer Dad Who Brought Down FIFA

Chuck Blazer went from kiddie coach to living large on private jets as general secretary of CONCACAF. Now he’s Mr. Big of informants in the huge corruption case rocking world soccer.
One apartment in Trump Tower for himself.
A second next door for his cats.
More luxury apartments in Florida and the Bahamas.
Credit card charges topping $26 million.
Another $20 million in his pocket.
A blog titled “Travels with Chuck Blazer and His Friends…” featuring a picture of him on a private plane with a smiling Nelson Mandela.
A private meeting with Vladimir Putin in which the Russian president tells him he looks just like Karl Marx.
Nights at one for the best tables in the fabled Manhattan nightspot Elaine’s.
Feasts at such fine restaurants as Campagnola and Dutch.
Chuck Blazer billed all of it—including a Hummer for himself and health care for his girlfriend—to an international soccer association, years of graft justified by a sense of entitlement.
He was, after all, the general secretary of FIFA’s Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), having hustled his way up from kiddie coach to head of the Westchester County soccer association to the New York state soccer association to a national position and his eventual prominence.
The one-time suburban soccer dad who had stood so lean with his 6-year-old son’s team back in 1979 had since been transformed by excess into a 450-pound personification of ever growing greed.
When he became too corpulent to move around without effort, he simply got a motorized scooter.
And the hobnobbing and gorging and squandering might have just kept on and on, for the soccer association was the infamously corrupt FIFA.
The greed turned feverish as Qatar campaigned to become the site for the 2022 World Cup.
Qatar had broiling heat and scant facilities, and little to recommend itself beside alot of cash, but that was enough to cinch it.
With that victory, Mohammed Bin Hammam of Qatar apparently decided that the magic of money might also make him the new president of FIFA.
And here, CONCACAF’s then president, Jack Warner, went from greedy to plain stupid.
Warner was also president of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU), which in the past has voted as a bloc in FIFA presidential elections.
Warner called a meeting of the CFU at a Trinidad hotel. Bin Hammam addressed the group. Warner afterward directed the members to a conference room to pick up a “gift” for having attended.
Frederick Lunn, vice president of the Bahamas Football Association, later recounted in an affidavit that he went to the conference room as instructed.
“When I arrived, the door was locked, so I knocked,” Lunn recounted. “A male answered the door and asked that I wait a few minutes. Soon thereafter, the same individual opened the door and invited me in.”
Lunn entered and a woman asked him to sign a form.
“She then handed me a manila envelope with ‘Bahamas’ written on it,” Lunn remembered. “I opened the envelope, which was stapled, and stacks of US $100 fell out of the envelope and onto the table. I was stunned to see the cash. I asked them what it was and they told me it was US $40,000. They said it was a gift from the CFU and I could count if I wanted.”
Lunn took a picture of the money before returning it.
“Witnessing this was particularly troubling because at this same time CNN was running stories concerning allegations of bribes being paid in connection with awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar,” Lunn recounted.
Lunn reported the attempted “gift” to Anton Sealey, the head of the Bahamas chapter. Sealey reported it to Blazer.
In the past, Warner had suffered few repercussions after being accused of hustles such as selling 20,000 more tickets to a match than there were seats.
But Warner had now engaged in something unforgivable: being party to an apparent attempt to bribe an honest person who then reported it.
Word of it was sure to reach FIFA. And the longtime sitting president, Sepp Blatter, no doubt take would particular exception, as this gift-giving was an apparent attempt to unseat him.
All of which left Blazer in jeopardy because he and Warner had long been considered to be so close that people would meld their names together and speak of them as one person, ChuckJack.
Chuck moved to separate himself from Jack. Blazer reported Warner to FIFA, filing an affidavit that is almost certainly an exercise in perjury.
“I told Mr. Warner I was upset he had caused these payments to be made. I noted that in 21 years of working together in CONCACAF we had never paid anyone for a vote,” Blazer said in the sworn statement.
Warner must have sputtered. He had supposedly given Blazer a cut of the $10 million he allegedly received for voting in favor of South Africa hosting the 2010 World Cup.
But Warner could not say that without putting himself in a far deeper hole. Warner resigned, telling reporters only, “The general secretary that I had employed, who worked with me for 21 years, with the assistance of elements of FIFA has sought to undermine me in ways that are unimaginable.”

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