Soccer scandal sees U.S. heavyweight Chuck Blazer fired and rehired, all within hours
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Chuck Blazer, the only American on FIFA’s executive committee, will remain as general secretary of soccer‘s North and Central American and Caribbean (CONCACAF) region despite being fired on Tuesday.
Blazer was dubbed “the whistleblower” by the British media last week after his revelations of alleged bribery by Jack Warner, CONCACAF’s president, and Mohamed Bin Hammam, president of the Asian Football Confederation, led to both men being provisionally suspended by FIFA on Sunday.
Lisle Austin of Barbados, who was elevated to fill in for Warner as head of CONCACAF while investigations continue, tried to remove Blazer from office on Tuesday.
He sent Blazer, 66, a letter stating that he had been “terminated as general secretary of CONCACAF with immediate effect.”
Austin, a longtime Warner ally, apparently was acting on Warner’s behalf, but put CONCACAF in the peculiar predicament of having to contradict its own leader, albeit an interim one.
Later, CONCACAF issued a statement from its New York headquarters that called Austin’s action “an unauthorized declaration” and overrode it.
“This attempted action was taken without any authority,” the statement said. “Under the CONCACAF statutes, jurisdiction over the general secretary rests solely with the executive committee, which has taken no action.
Chuck Blazer continues as CONCACAF general secretary and with the full authority of his office.”
In an earlier interview with Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, Blazer, a FIFA executive committee member for the last 15 years, had said how tough it was to turn in his own boss, Warner.
“Of course it was difficult,” he said. “But what is more difficult is to ignore the fact attempts were made to suborn members. It really wasn’t a choice. I said to Jack, ‘What are you doing? In 21 years we have never bought a vote.’ Once you have done that, you have let the genie out of the bottle and for any issue people will say, ‘OK, how much are you putting on the table?’”
-- Grahame L. Jones