ZURICH (AP)_ Chuck Blazer was expelled by FIFA’s ethics committee on Thursday for widespread corruption, finally ending the career of the longtime most senior American in world football.
The life ban from football duty was a formality after Blazer’s guilty plea to racketeering and tax evasion charges was unsealed in May by United States federal agencies.
FIFA’s ethics panel made its ruling using evidence from the American federal case which has plunged FIFA and international football into crisis.
In a statement, FIFA ethics committee said Blazer 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.”
Blazer pleaded guilty to 10 counts including racketeering conspiracy, wire fraud conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy and income tax evasion. He was a co-operating witness with United States federal agencies since 2011 after his tax affairs were investigated.
Blazer served on FIFA’s executive panel for 16 years until 2013.
FIFA opened an ethics investigation against Blazer after the corrupt financial management of CONCACAF was exposed in 2012.
The FIFA proceedings were suspended in 2013 due to Blazer’s ill-health and while the U.S. federal case developed.
Blazer, now 70, told a Brooklyn court in 2013 that he had been treated for rectal cancer.
He forfeited more than $1.9 million at the time of his plea and has agreed to pay more when he is sentenced.
Blazer’s life story could be made into a Hollywood film. The rights to an upcoming book of his football administration career were bought last month.