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Federation Internationale de Football Association whistleblower, FoHi native, dies

14 July 2017, 12:52 | Melanie Burgess

Disgraced Ex-FIFA Executive Chuck Blazer Has Died At 72

Chuck Blazer, former Fifa official turned whistleblower, dies aged 72

Blazer, who ran a business that mostly made political campaign buttons and claimed to have invented the "smiley face" button, began his soccer career as the youth coach of his son Jason's soccer team in New Rochelle, N.Y., in the mid-1970s although having never played the game.

The burly American, whose admissions of guilt set off the corruption scandal that heaped disgrace on Federation Internationale de Football Association, has died aged 72 after battling cancer and other illnesses, bringing to an end one the most colourful and controversial careers in the history of the sport. He admitted to sharing in a $10 million bribe scheme with others to support South Africa's bid for the 2010 World Cup, and facilitating a kickback linked to Morocco's failed bid for the 1998 World Cup.

This fraud had been previously discovered by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and IRS because of Blazer's failure to pay income tax, but authorities were able to turn Blazer into an informant on other instances of sporting corruption.

Blazer, who was banned from all football activities for life in 2015, had been suffering from cancer.

In 2013, his reputation shattered, a disgraced Blazer pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud and money laundering.

As per the statement from his lawyers, "We are truly saddened by the passing of our client and friend, Chuck Blazer,". There he joined forces with Jack Warner, a Trinidadian schoolteacher whom he helped get elected as CONCACAF president, with Blazer serving as his secretary general.

At Blazer's urging, U.S. Soccer got serious about growing the sport via the national men's team, which had played just two matches between 1981 and 1983 but played 19 in the two years that followed Blazer's election.

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"Chuck also accepted responsibility for his own conduct by pleading guilty and owning up to his mistakes".

Chuck was apart of the FIFA Executive Committee from 1996 to April 2013.

"I've known Chuck for a lot of years".

Blazer was found to have "misappropriated funds to finance his personal lifestyle", according to Concacaf, causing the organisation to "subsidise rent on his residence in the Trump Tower in New..."

The statement continued: "Chuck felt profound sorrow and regret for his action".

US national team coach Bruce Arena was asked about Blazer's death following the Americans' 3-2 Gold Cup win over Martinique and told reporters: "I'm sorry for the passing of Chuck Blazer".

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