Banned ex-Fifa official Chuck Blazer dies

Banned ex-Fifa official Chuck Blazer dies

Chuck Blazer, then Chairman of the FIFA Organising Committee for the Confederations Cup, pictured on 13 June, 2005Image copyright
AFP/Getty Images

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Blazer led a colourful life and played a key role in the Fifa corruption scandal

Former top football official Chuck Blazer has died at the age of 72, his lawyers say.

Blazer, whose evidence to US investigators helped trigger the Fifa corruption scandal, had been suffering from cancer.

He was a larger-than-life character, and formerly the general secretary of Concacaf, the governing body of North and Central American football.

In 2013 he pleaded guilty to bribery, money laundering and tax evasion.

He was banned from all football activities for life in 2015.

“We are truly saddened by the passing of our client and friend, Chuck Blazer,” Blazer’s lawyers said in a statement.

“His misconduct, for which he accepted full responsibility, should not obscure Chuck’s positive impact on international soccer.”

The official served on FIFA’s executive committee from 1997-2013, during which time he pocketed millions to fund a globe-trotting VIP lifestyle.

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TORSTEN SILZ/AFP/Getty Images

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Mr Blazer’s information helped secure the downfall of former FIFA president Sepp Blatter (C)

A 2013 report by Concacaf’s integrity committee said he had received more than $20.6m (£16m) in commissions, fees and rental payments from the organisation between 1996 to 2011.

His personal excesses included two apartments in New York’s Trump Tower, one of which was exclusively for his cats.

In his blog Travels with Chuck Blazer and his Friends…, he was pictured enjoying time with football legends like Pele and Bobby Charlton, and other high-profile names like Prince William and Hillary Clinton.

He also introduced readers to his pet parrot, a blue-and-gold macaw named Max Blazer, even uploading a video of the bird dancing on the basket of his mobility scooter in New York’s Central Park.

His luck ran out when he attempted to conceal his income after failing to file tax returns from 2005 to 2010.

According to one account, Mr Blazer was arrested by the FBI and an Internal Revenue Service official in 2011 as he rode his scooter to a favourite New York restaurant.

“We can take you away in handcuffs now, or you can cooperate,” he was reportedly told.

Mr Blazer made his choice, and agreed to become an informant to help the US government expose corruption in football.

His information led to charges against 14 other current or former FIFA officials, and contributed to the downfall of Sepp Blatter, the organisation’s president.