Among the many ways to describe Chuck Blazer, influential may be the most boring. It may also most accurate.
A larger-than-life figure whose whose life atop the New York City skyline has become part legend, hyperbole, and fact, the FIFA executive committee member has come to symbolize so much of what the world’s governing body means to the soccer fans. His lifestyle is lavish, there’s speculation that’s fueled through nefarious means, yet he was crucial in a CONCACAF cleanup that ousted corrupt former president Jack Warner. While there may be an irony to that blown whistle, it’s one that may have pushed FIFA as well as North/Central American soccer in a slightly better direction.
After 16 years on FIFA’s executive committee, Blazer has announced he will not seek re-election. Set to leave his office in May, Blazer said via statement that “It is time for new faces with new energy to take over the responsibility of FIFA’s leadership.” The 67-year-old will leave having served five terms.
Between now and then you will surely read more informed retrospectives than I can provide. To me, Blazer is a man with a tremendous beard who exemplifies the strange and unknown world of FIFA’s closed door culture. Rabid speculation depicts those corridors as lined with money-filled paper bags that a fortunate few can pluck at their whim. Blazer is one of the few to detail that world, one we still know so little about.
Regardless, Blazer’s probably right. It is time for new people to take over these leadership positions. No matter what you think of the general paranoia that surrounds these governing bodies’ actions, the days of unscrutinized governance appear to be ending. Like FIFA president Sepp Blatter, Blazer is moving on. For all involved, it’s the right time.