American Official admits taking world cup bribe

Chuck Blazer

Former American Football administrator Chuck Blazer has admitted in a court
testimony released Wednesday he conspired with fellow FIFA executives to accept
bribes during the process to choose hosts for the 1998 and 2010 World Cups.

The bearded multimillionaire, the face of North American soccer for two decades,
pleaded guilty to racketeering, part of a massive US corruption case targeting
world football’s governing body.

Blazer’s testimony is a key plank in the US investigation against FIFA, which
the federal court document describes as a “Racketeering Influenced Corrupt
Organization.”

The 70-year-old admitted to a raft of charges related to his leadership of
the North and Central American soccer body CONCACAF and membership of FIFA’s
executive committee.

He is awaiting sentencing and may be called to testify in the trials of other
sports executives.

But in the papers released on Wednesday, the other FIFA executives identified
as co-conspirators are not named.

“Among other things, I agreed with other persons in or around 1992 to
facilitate the acceptance of a bribe in conjunction with the selection of the
host nation for the 1998 World Cup,” Blazer said in his plea.

The 1998 World Cup was eventually awarded to France, ahead of a bid by Morocco.
Another court document, detailing the charges, says that Blazer was present
when a co-conspirator accepted a bribe in Morocco.

Blazer goes on to accept that he and “others on the FIFA executive committee”
agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa to
host the World Cup in 2010.

South African officials have strongly denied allegations by US investigators
that they paid $10 million in bribes to secure the rights to host the competition.

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