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NEW YORK (AP) - Chuck Blazer is resigning as the No. 2 official of CONCACAF in December, a half-year after going public with bribery accusations against his then-boss.
The 66-year-old American has been secretary general of the Confederation of North and Central American and Caribbean Football since 1990. He said in May that CONCACAF president Jack Warner and Asian confederation head Mohamed bin Hammam attempted to bribe Caribbean delegates $40,000 each to vote for Bin Hammam in the FIFA presidential election. Warner’s acting successor then tried to fire Blazer, setting off more disciplinary proceedings.
“I’ve been running a governing body long enough. We’ve been through a little bit of a stagnation period,” Blazer said Thursday in a telephone interview with The Associated Press. “I want to do something entrepreneurial. It was the right time. I wanted to give them notice to let them start to look for somebody.”
After Blazer made the bribery charges, Bin Hammam withdrew from the election, leaving Sepp Blatter to run unopposed for a fourth term. Warner resigned all his soccer posts in June, and FIFA imposed a lifetime ban on Bin Hammam, who was head of the Asian confederation and is contesting the penalty.
In the fallout, acting CONCACAF president Lisle Austin attempted to fire Blazer, but the group’s executive committee said Austin lacked the authority. FIFA then suspended Austin, who went to court in the Bahamas and called FIFA a “corrupt cabal of arrogance and cronyism.”
Blazer said he will retain his post on the FIFA executive committee. He was elected to soccer’s most powerful body in 1997, and his current term runs through mid-2013. He said it was too early to determine whether he will run for re-election to the FIFA post.
As for the future, Blazer said he would consider taking a club post. He would not comment on the possibility that he could join one of the groups bidding for Major League Soccer’s 20th team, which MLS would like to place in the New York area as a rival to the Red Bulls.
A group that includes Terry Byrne, a friend of Los Angeles Galaxy star David Beckham, bought the rights to the name of the old North American Soccer League Cosmos team and hired Eric Cantona and Cobi Jones.
During two decades with CONCACAF, Blazer moved its headquarters from Guatemala City to New York; started the Gold Cup tournament, which has been played every two years since 1991; and launched the CONCACAF Champions League.
Blazer’s successor at CONCACAF will be chosen by CONCACAF’s executive committee, which includes U.S. Soccer Federation president Sunil Gulati, Alfredo Hawit of Honduras, Justino Compean of Mexico, Horace Burrell of Jamaica and Ariel Alvarado of Panama.
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