Stop the presses! … so that everyone can shrug and say, “Well, yeah, right? Didn’t that happen a long time ago? I thought that was obvious.”
Well no, it didn’t happen a long time ago. FIFA justice moves at the pace of coastal erosion, so only today did Chuck Blazer, the Bad Santa of international soccer, get a life ban, two years after his secret guilty plea to an awe-inspiring number of offenses.
The former FIFA executive committee member and CONCACAF general secretary-turned-supergrass is said to be seriously ill in hospital, but perhaps it was a comfort to him to know that until today he could technically still have harbored hopes of a comeback.
The U.S. justice department’s dramatic Zurich bust in May might not have happened without info from the 70-year-old New Yorker, a one-time close confidant of Jack Warner. Blazer had been helping the FBI since 2011, when he was apprehended by the feds in a dramatic low-speed motor chase through the streets of Manhattan. (He was driving his mobility scooter to an upscale restaurant.) He carried a wire tap disguised as a key chain to meetings at the 2012 Olympic Games.
He admitted to taking bribes to vote for South Africa as 2010 World Cup hosts and for Morocco as 1998 hosts. He pleaded guilty to racketeering, wire fraud, money laundering, income tax evasion and excessive generosity towards felines.
He racked up $29m in credit card bills. Most appallingly of all, he lived in Trump Tower, which means that he’s helped Donald Trump get richer.
A FIFA statement said:
“Mr Blazer committed many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official in different high-ranking and influential positions at FIFA and CONCACAF. In his positions as a football official, he was a key player in schemes involving the offer, acceptance, payment and receipt of undisclosed and illegal payments, bribes and kickbacks as well as other money-making schemes.”
Yeah, but apart from all that, he wasn’t so bad.
Say what you like about Chuck Blazer, you can’t say he didn’t have fun.