Chuck Blazer ban proves FIFA means business ... or something like that

Looks like FIFA is really taking this ethics scandal seriously.

Nearly two months after the U.S. Justice Department unsealed a 47-count indictment accusing nine high-ranking officials with everything from money laundering and racketeering to wire fraud and conspiracy, world soccer's governing body has thrown the book at Chuck Blazer, the guy who helped the feds uncover the reported crimes.

On Thursday, FIFA banned Blazer, a former executive committee member, from taking part in any aspect of soccer for life.

"Mr. Blazer committed many and various acts of misconduct continuously and repeatedly during his time as an official in different high-ranking and influential positions at FIFA and CONCACAF," FIFA said in a statement. "In his positions as a football official, he 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."

Where would we be without FIFA's tireless ethics committee ferreting out facts like that? Probably where we were before, since Blazer already had confessed to U.S. investigators that he took more than $11 million in bribes between 2005 and 2010.

Sepp Blatter, meanwhile, remains FIFA's president, and Jerome Valcke remains Blatter's chief enabler ... er, assistant. Neither man traveled to Canada for the just-completed Women's World Cup since both remain under investigation by U.S. and Swiss officials in a widening probe of corruption in global soccer.

Blazer was once the highest-ranking American in FIFA. He also served as general secretary of CONCACAF, the confederation that oversees the sport in North America and Central America, as well as the Caribbean.

But two years ago, he pleaded guilty to his role in a corruption scheme that earned him more than $150 million in bribes and kickbacks over the past two decades. Blazer, who is said to have personally misappropriated $15 million during that period, turned informant in 2011 and wore a wire during discussions with several high-ranking soccer officials, helping the Justice Department gather evidence.

Blazer, now 70 and wheelchair-bound, has been treated for rectal cancer. In a deal with prosecutors, he has agreed to forfeit more than $2.4 million of the money he received in bribes, kickbacks and the unauthorized sale of World Cup tickets.

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