Remember Chuck Blazer? He's the American FIFA executive who posts pictures of himself wearing boring Halloween costumes and posing with his pet parrot Max, as if cutesy snapshots might convince us that a Santa Claus imposter isn't as scummy as everyone else attached to FIFA.
Blazer blew the whistle on an alleged bribery scheme involving Mohammed bin Hammam, who helped Qatar win the 2022 World Cup. At the time of the blowing, Bin Hammam was running for FIFA president against Sepp Blatter, one of the most dangerous megalomaniacs the world has ever seen. Blatter suspended Bin Hammam, his only presidential opponent, got re-elected, then commissioned an internal FIFA investigation of Bin Hammam. As you might imagine, it did not end well for the Qatari, who was banned from FIFA for life on Saturday. Bin Hammam called Blatter a "dictator" and promised to contest the decision in outside courts.
So what are we to make of Blazer's role in this? Are we to think that he was motivated by a selfless interest to preserve the sanctity of international soccer? We are not. As recently reported by Andrew Jennings, Blazer "trousered" almost $2 million in commissions from soccer marketing deals last year. He made even more in 2009. "Over the last five years," Jennings writes, "Blazer has paid himself $9.6 million in bonuses on top of his pay as general secretary of Concacaf, the confederation of footballing nations in the Caribbean, central and North America."
Blazer's riches are funneled through one of his private companies in the Cayman Islands and into offshore banks. This is the New World version of the Swiss banking schemes employed by Blatter and his European cronies. From Jennings:
Blazer's contract specified that he was hired from one of his private companies, Sportvertising, subsequently domiciled in the Cayman Islands. This company would receive Blazer's never disclosed salary and crucially, 10% of ‘all sponsorships and TV rights fees from all sources received by Concacaf.' According to documents obtained by Transparency in Sport, Blazer's payments were channelled offshore to accounts in the name of Sportvertising at Barclays Bank, Grand Cayman, and the First Caribbean International Bank, Bahamas.
Jenning adds a few more nice details. For one, Blazer lives in Trump Tower. For two, he is "so broad of girth that he cannot fit into the largest of FIFA's executive saloon cars and has to be transported in a luxury van."
But it's not like this is uncommon for a FIFA executive, despite Blazer being more corpulent than most. The New York Times published a story last week about FIFA's money trough and the hogs that lap from it:
The 24 members of the executive committee of FIFA - the association that governs the global game and organizes the World Cup - form an elite all-men's club, reaping annual salaries and bonuses of up to $300,000 in addition to their various perks. For that, they are asked to do little more than show up for a few private meetings each year to discuss rules, sanctions and legal issues and, most important, to eventually vote on which country will host the quadrennial championship.
Also distressing: In its Zurich headquarters, FIFA has a "meditation room" made entirely of onyx and looking not unlike something Tony Montana would install in his basement:
Lucky Chuckie! Blazer takes secret 10% on sponsor deals [Transparency in Sport]
For FIFA Executives, Luxury and Favors [New York Times]