NEW YORK (AP) — Chuck Blazer, the disgraced American soccer executive whose admissions of corruption set off a global scandal that ultimately toppled FIFA President Sepp Blatter, died Wednesday. He was 72.
Blazer’s death was announced by his lawyers, Eric Corngold and Mary Mulligan. At a November 2013 court hearing during which Blazer entered guilty pleas to 10 federal charges, Blazer said he had rectal cancer, diabetes and coronary artery disease.
A person familiar with his death said Blazer died in New Jersey. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the place of his death was not disclosed in the statement.
“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.”
With girth, charm and a pet parrot, Blazer was a bon vivant as he made deals from an office and apartment in Trump Tower. The No. 2 official in the governing body of soccer’s North and Central American and Caribbean region from 1990-2011 and a member of FIFA’s ruling executive committee from 1997-2013, Blazer was central to the rise of the sport in the United States. He relished his status, posting a photo on his blog of him in a private jet with Nelson Mandela.
Soccer corruption had been rumored for years before Blazer accused his boss, CONCACAF President Jack Warner, and fellow executive committee member Mohamed bin Hammam of offering $40,000 bribes to voters in the 2011 FIFA presidential election. Bin Hammam, a Qatari who headed the Asian Football Confederation, had been the lone challenger to Blatter, who was elected unopposed to a fourth term after Warner and bin Hammam were suspended. Blatter was elected to a fifth…