Chuck Blazer, the disgraced American soccer executive whose admissions of corruption set off a global scandal that ultimately toppled FIFA president Sepp Blatter, has died. He was 72.
Blazer's death was announced Wednesday by his lawyers, Eric Corngold and Mary Mulligan. At a November 2013 court hearing during which Blazer entered guilty pleas to federal charges, Blazer said he had rectal cancer, diabetes and coronary artery disease.
In 2015, Blazer was banned from football for life by FIFA for what the governing body called his “many acts of misconduct” at the organization and as general secretary of the CONCACAF confederation.
The ban stemmed in part from Blazer's admission that he and others on FIFA's ruling panel agreed to receive bribes in voting for the hosts of the 1998 and 2010 World Cups, France and South Africa, respectively.
Blazer, who was born on April 26, 1945, in New York City, began as a volunteer soccer administrator only to rise to the highest echelons of power within the sport. For over 20 years, Blazer teamed with former CONCACAF president Jack Warner to grow the region's governing body from a small-time outfit into a soccer marketing powerhouse that helped grow the game and the confederation.
It was in part through Blazer's efforts that FIFA chose the U.S. to host the 1994 World Cup. He was named to FIFA's powerful executive committee in 1997, and he remained there until 2013.
“I've known Chuck for a lot of years. He did a lot for the sport. Sorry about all the issues regarding FIFA, but he was a good man,” U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena said. “He helped the sport in the United States.”