Soccer

Acting CONCACAF chief trying to fire FIFA whistleblower

The acting president of CONCACAF says he has fired Chuck Blazer, whose bribery allegations touched off a corruption scandal that has shaken FIFA.

The acting president of CONCACAF said Tuesday he has fired Chuck Blazer, whose bribery allegations touched off the corruption scandal that has shaken FIFA to its core.

Hours before the FIFA presidential election, Lisle Austin accused Blazer of "a gross misconduct of duty and of judgment," and said the American was no longer fit to be CONCACAF's secretary general. Austin's letter, sent to Blazer's hotel, was written on CONCACAF stationary, and FIFA president Sepp Blatter and FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke were copied in.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Austin has the authority to remove Blazer, who is also a member of FIFA's executive committee. The man who answered the phone in Blazer's hotel room said Blazer was "dealing with business" and could not comment. John P. Collins, the former U.S. prosecutor who investigated the bribery allegations on Blazer's behalf, said when reached on his cellphone that he could not talk.

Blazer accused Jack Warner, the longtime CONCACAF president and a FIFA vice-president, and Mohamed bin Hammam of giving Caribbean football leaders $40,000 US each in exchange for their votes in the presidential election. Bin Hammam, a Qatari who leads Asia's football confederation, had been Sepp Blatter's only challenger.

Warner and bin Hammam have been temporarily suspended, and now face a full FIFA inquiry. If found guilty, they could be expelled from FIFA and banned from all football activity.

In his letter, Austin said Blazer "grossly insulted and defamed" all of CONCACAF's Caribbean members by saying each was under investigation for bribery. He also said Blazer did not have the authority to hire Collins, and that a decision to investigate federation members could only have been made by CONCACAF's executive committee.

Blazer's termination is effective immediately, Austin said, and he ordered Blazer to appear at the CONCACAF offices on Monday to turn over his computer and any "records, contracts, other books" related to CONCACAF business.

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