Corruption. Illustrated.

Where does one start?

In what will surely be the most talked about tale of alleged and actual corruption that we will see this year (or indeed for many years) and a topic that we will inevitably return as more information becomes available, we wanted to start with U.S.A v Charles Blazer.

Charles Gordon “Chuck” Blazer is an American former soccer administrator, who held a number of high level positions. He was a FIFA Executive Committee member from 1996 to 2013, the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) General Secretary from 1990 until 2011, and Executive Vice President of the U.S. Soccer Federation.

In 2013, Blazer admitted to conspiring with other FIFA Executive Committee members to accept bribes in conjunction with the failed bid of Morocco and the successful bid of South Africa to become World Cup hosts in 1998 and 2010 respectively. 

On June 3, 2015, the transcript of a closed sentencing proceeding (which occurred in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on November 25, 2013) was unsealed and made public. 

In his 2013 testimony, Blazer admitted to conspiring with other FIFA Executive Committee members to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of 1998 and 2010 World Cup hosts.

It is that sealed transcript which is the Report of the Week.

Once one gets past the procedural matters it is a short – but telling – illustration of how corruption rots everything.

The core of the issue comes down to two paragraphs spoken by Blazer in his testimony:

Beginning in or about 1993 and continuing through the early 2000s, I and others agreed to accept bribes and kickbacks in conjunction with the broadcast and other rights to the 1996, ‘1998, 2000, 2002, and 2003 Gold Cups. Beginning in or around 2004 and continuing through 2011 , I and others on the FIFA executive committee agreed to accept bribes in conjunction with the selection of South Africa as the host nation for the 2010 World Cup.

And

Between April of 2004 and May 2011 , I and others who were fiduciaries to both FIFA and CONCACAF, in contravention of our duties, I and others, while acting in our official capacities, agreed to participate in a scheme to defraud FIFA and CONCACAF of the right to honest services by taking undisclosed bribes. I and others agreed to use e-mail, telephone, and a wjre transfer into and out of the United States in furtherance of the scheme. Funds procured through these improper payments passed through JFK Airport in the form of a check.

Corruption is never an orphan and these two paragraphs neatly, succinctly but terrifyingly show the depth of the conspiracy that was at play.

It is also a reminder that even the most senior within an organisation are not above the temptation of illicit gains.

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