By Chris Wright
Turns out those few extra dollars earned moonlighting as a shopping centre Santa Claus just weren’t enough for Chuck
While thoroughly disgraced, there can be little doubt that CONCACAF chief-turned-whistleblower Chuck Blazer made the most of his time suckling on Sepp Blatter’s lucrative teat.
Blazer climbed all the way up the ladder from coaching his son’s team in New York to serving as CONCACAF general secretary and as a member of the FIFA executive committee between 1990 and 2013, making him pretty much the most powerful man in North American, Central American and Carribean football
During his tenure he reportedly earned the nickname ‘Mr 10 Percent’ due to his predilection for collecting commissions, fees and kick-backs – over $20million’s worth of commissions, fees and kick-backs to be a little more precise.
A famed eccentric and bon vivant, Blazer was known to sport a parrot on his right shoulder while pootling around on his mobility scooter – his enormous bulk rendering him unable to walk more than a short distance at a time.
He was also famed for his irreverent personal blog, ‘Travels with Chuck Blazer and his Friends’, which featured a succession of photos of him posing with various world leaders and celebrities including Vladimir Putin, Nelson Mandela and even Miss Universe.
Oh yes, and he also pleaded guilty to a cavalcade of tax-related charges in 2013, duly forfeiting $1.9million to the US Justice Department (with a second payment still pending) after running up an eye-watering $26million debt on his credit card to fund his ridiculously opulent lifestyle.
Despite being in hospital suffering with suspected colon cancer, Blazer is currently facing a maximum of 10 years in prison for his irregular accounting, and a further five years for tax evasion.
However, as part of his guilty plea, Blazer also turned FBI informant in their ongoing investigation into FIFA corruption that is said to involve bribes totalling more than $100million – the very same investigation that saw a precession of FIFA officials collared following police raids at a Zurich hotel yesterday morning.
As such, he was forced to wear a wire to the 2012 Olympic Games in London in order to record conversations with other dodgy international football officials. And lo, three years later: dawn raids in Zurich.
Anyway, the long and short of all this is that one particular aspect of Blazer’s preposterous indulgence has emerged from all this that almost perfectly encapsulates the nauseating, selfish, glad-handing, flesh-pressing culture that pollutes FIFA from the top down.
According to the New York Daily News, it appears Blazer owns not one but two luxury apartments in Trump Towers in Manhattan (costing roughly £3,900 to rent, per week). That’s one for him to live in, the other for his cats.
For. His. Cats.
You’ve got to give it to the man. If you’re going to be corrupt, you may as well do it on an unashamedly humongous scale.