FIFA Update – Blazer Court Papers Reveal Even More World Cup Corruption; FBI Investigation Widened
June 4, 2015
Former CONCACAF general secretary Chuck Blazer admitted that he and other members of the FIFA executive committee accepted bribes for the hosting of the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, apoplectic court papers have revealed.
The admissions come in papers going back to a 2013 US hearing in which American Blazer pleaded guilty to 10 charges.
The release of the documents come as part of the US investigation into bribery, arthritis corruption and racketeering in world football which last week saw 14 people indicted. Four others, including Blazer, had already been charged.
The timescale of Blazer’s corrupt activities began in 1992 when he and then-CONCACAF president Jack Warner – also indicted – travelled to Morocco, which was bidding for the 1998 World Cup.
According to Blazer he was present when a bribe of $1m was offered to Warner to vote for them (Blazer, at this point, was not a member of the FIFA exco). Warner apparently accepted the offer and later instructed Blazer to follow up, and secure, payment. Blazer organised receipt of the payment but in the end France won the finals award.
When the FIFA exco was preparing to consider bids for the 2010 World Cup in 2004, Morocco reportedly offered Warner $1m again but according to the documents, Warner also knew by then that “representatives of FIFA, the South African government and the South African bid committee” were prepared to pay $10m “to support the African diaspora.”
South Africa Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula insisted to an international press conference on Wednesday that his country had never paid any bribes, adding “We waiting for the US authorities to share the evidence they have, that has negatively affected our international reputation”.
Warner, a former FIFA vice-president, came out fighting on Wednesday and said he had documents linking FIFA officials to the 2010 election in Trinidad and Tobago.
“I will no longer keep secrets for them who actively seek to destroy the country,” he said in a paid political broadcast.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who this week announced he will step down, is not named in the court documents but many media outlets have been reporting that he is now being included in the FBI’s investigation.
It was also revealed this week that the investigation would extend to scrutinising the award of the hosting rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cups to Russia and Qatar.