The FBI landed a big fish (perhaps cat is a better animal choice) when it nailed American bribe-master Chuck Blazer.
The former FIFA executive committee member and U.S. Soccer vice president is near the center of the FBI’s attacks on soccer’s governing body, and details of his admissions to the feds continue to come out.
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Some of it isn’t news to those who’ve been paying attention, but Blazer has admitted that he, along with others, either facilitated and/or accepted bribes leading up to the 1998 World Cup in France and the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It will be especially interesting to monitor the 1998 details, as longtime UEFA boss Michel Platini has taken a lot of credit for organizing the tournament in France (though Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl says not to be concerned there).
Important to note the bribe Chuck Blazer pled guilty to taking for WC98 came from Morocco, which lost out to France as the tournament host.
— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) June 3, 2015
Much of what Blazer admitted was revealed last week when the 2013 charges against him were disclosed. But the transcript adds new and important details that give shape to the scope of the scandal. Particularly significant are the maneuverings described around the 2010 World Cup — a scheme that, according to Blazer’s plea, involved not only a “high-ranking official with FIFA” but also the South African government.
The schemes started around 1992, as the executive committee began considering bids from Morocco and France to host the 1998 tournament, Blazer said. Blazer and an unnamed co-conspirator traveled to Morocco, where a representative of the Moroccan bid committee offered a bribe to the co-conspirator in exchange for his agreement to cast his secret ballot for Morocco to host the 1998 World Cup, he said.
Morocco tried again in 2004, putting in a bid for the 2010 World Cup. Again, Blazer and the same co-conspirator traveled to Morocco where a representative of the Moroccan bid committee offered the co-conspirator $1 million for his vote, Blazer said.
The details have been released after prosecutors unsealed details from the 2013 guilty pleas of Blazer, who — it will never get old repeating — had an apartment for his cat in New York’s Trump Towers.
Let’s also acknowledge that we can reasonably infer that bribes were paid for the 1998, 2010 and 2022 World Cups, with 2002 in Asia under suspicion for fixing South Korea’s run and 2018 very much in the discussion.
And the Gold Cup inclusion seems to indicate that a lot of North and Central Americans FAs have plenty to fear when it comes to this investigation.
Perhaps we should start considering which tournaments were not awarded with tomfoolery. 2006 in Germany? 1994 in the US? Bueller?